Ohio native Rhonda Newman, the new vice principal of Haines School, and her basset hound Slinky are settling into Haines, and still getting acquainted with the rain. 

“I do like outdoor activities although I’m trying to get used to participating in activities in rainy weather. Back in Ohio, if it’s raining and something’s scheduled outdoors, it’s rained out,” Newman said. “This town seems to be like, ‘Get geared up. Let’s go.’ I love that attitude. I’m just still surprised by it.”

Newman worked as a special needs teacher in Cleveland for 12 years before applying for the vice principal job left vacant by Kim Sundberg. She earned an educational leadership degree in May. She said she was looking for a job in a smaller, closer-knit community than city life offered. 

“It’s been everything I’d hoped for and more,” she said. “Being born and raised in Cleveland and working there, I was just looking for a closer community and I’ve definitely found it here in Haines. I love that there’s no traffic signals here. To me that’s delicious.”

Newman arrived in town on July 27, just in time for the fair. She spent a week on the road on her drive up. She likes boating, reading, walking Slinky and eating salmon. One of her favorite things to do in Cleveland was to watch live performances, including Broadway shows. She said she’d happily volunteer to act or help in local performances. 

“I will be there. I was in dramatic performances in all my high school productions, never a leading role but all the supporting roles,” she said. 

Newman has two children, a son and daughter both still in Cleveland. 

Sundberg resigned last year to take a principal job in Oregon.