Erin King, Lake Hills Principal, in a meeting

October is National Principals Month! Our principals work hard each and every day to promote student well-being and support our exceptional staff. Throughout the month we will be featuring some of the principals you know and love and highlight what makes them unique.

Erin King might not be your typical principal – if there is such a thing. Who is she? In her first year as principal at Lake Hills Elementary School and her eighth year as a principal in Bellevue, this vibrant, cheerful, thrill-seeker with an infectious laugh and awe-inspiring energy is engaged in efforts to dramatically change classrooms.

King is very passionate about engaging students and teachers in learning. “Growing up, I was a super curious kid and I asked a lot of questions.” Feeling like her inquisitiveness wasn’t welcomed in her school setting inspires King to create spaces where students and teachers can be curious, ask questions and be engaged learners. “I want to create spaces where students and staff are deeply creative and innovative.”

At Lake Hills, King is learning with her staff while they engage in professional learning communities (PLCs). PLCs are small groups of educators that meet regularly and work collaboratively to analyze and develop their classroom practice in order to improve student learning. Lake Hills is also implementing co-teaching in kindergarten through third grade where an additional teacher is added to each grade level to co-teach alongside classroom teachers to support students. King and the Lake Hills teacher leaders are working together to apply these innovative practices in order to ensure positive outcomes for kids. Because there are not many comparisons available, King is encouraging her staff to be comfortable being uncomfortable. “For any growth or innovation, we have to accept that. Because we are working towards a greater good.”

Originally from Shelton, Washington – the westernmost city on the Puget Sound – King attended Central Washington University and then the University of Washington. She has four siblings – her brother is a police officer and her three sisters have all worked in education. King previously served for seven years as principal at Phantom Lake Elementary School where, under her leadership, the school experienced significant gains in positive school culture and climate and student academic growth. Prior to Phantom Lake, King taught at Sherwood Forest Elementary, served as a technology and curriculum coach, a district science specialist and our district’s K-12 literacy curriculum developer.

An “obsessive” reader, King reads about 70 books each year. She does book retreats with her dad and siblings at the family’s vacation home near Olympia. They go for the weekend and read and talk about books, philosophy, life – sometimes even physics! Previous titles include “War and Peace” and Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy.” In school, King was a competitive swimmer. “I love swimming to this day – it makes my soul happy.” She paddleboards with her husband of 20 years and enjoys taking her 12 nieces and nephews swimming and for other water sports. King admits to being pretty fearless – join her for cliff diving and she’ll show you!

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.