NASELLE — Quinn Donlon, who recently resigned as Naselle-Grays River Valley School principal, has accepted a job as the assistant principal for Three Rivers Homelink School in Richland.
Donlon, a 1999 Naselle-Grays River Valley High School graduate, was hired in 2016 and has served as the K-12 school’s principal in the intervening three years.
The second son of Pete and Barbara Donlon, Quinn grew up in Naselle where his father worked for 30 years at the Naselle Youth Camp.
After high school, he attended Eastern Washington University where he received a teaching degree in child studies. While at EWU, he met and became engaged to Burbank resident Amber White. As she finished her last year at the university, Donlon worked as a substitute teacher at several schools in the Spokane area.
After her graduation, he accepted a position as a third-grade teacher within the Columbia Burbank School District where he worked for the next 11 years.
In the meantime, Amber — now Mrs. Donlon — worked for Educational School District 123 as a financial officer.
For five summers, Donlon worked on a commercial fishing boat with Naselle resident Craig Mattson and used the money he earned to pay for his master’s degree in educational leadership. After serving his internship, he received his principal certification and served as an interim principal and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) coordinator at Burbank.
“It has been a great experience here at the Naselle school,” Donlon said. “Just talk to any K-12 principal and they will tell you it is a stressful job. It’s not necessarily a bad stress job. It’s just busy and there’s always something going on. One day can feel like the hardest day you’ve ever had in education and another day can feel like the best, most fulfilling kind of day you’ve ever had. The staff here at the school is really dedicated to providing high quality education for the students.”
Three Rivers Homelink School is an alternative school with a student population of 550 students. Among his tasks as assistant principal, Donlon will prepare teacher evaluations and coordinate the STEM program.
Donlon explained, “As an alternative school, the students do part of their work at home. They get their school assignments and get some of their academics from their parents and then receive more specialized instruction at the school two or three days a week. It is like a hybrid between alternative and home schooling.”
“The return to the Tri-Cities area was a family decision,” Donlon stated. “Liam will be six in July and Lucas just turned two. Because of the demands of the job, I would often leave the house before they woke up and not return until after they had gone to bed. At this point in time, I think it’s important that I be there to spend more time with Amber and the two boys. It will also put us closer to Amber’s family as well as the friends we had made over the years in that area.”
Initially, the Donlons will live with Amber’s father until their house is Grays River is sold.
“We really love the Grays River house,” Donlon said.
Originally built around 1908, it served as a farmhouse for some 60 years and then as the Valley Bible Church for another 30 or 40 years.
“Ed and Claudia Downs did a super job when they remodeled it a few years ago. With almost 4,000 square feet and five bedrooms plus a large shop and a gazebo with a hot tub, it has been perfect for our family.”
Following the move, it shouldn’t take the Donlons long to settle in. While living in Grays River, Amber has continued to work on a part-time basis for ESD-123 as the financial officer for Touchet School District. She plans to return to the ESD on a half-time basis.
Liam will start his schooling as a kindergarten student in the fall.