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New vice principal at Pau-Wa-Lu

by Merrie Leininger

Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School is beginning the new school year with a new vice principal.

David Wittemore, 43, was a vice principal at Incline Village Middle School when he and his wife Mary Wertjes – also a teacher – moved to the Carson Valley last year. For the year, they drove 45 minutes to work and 45 minutes home every day.

“I had heard nothing but wonderful things about this school, so I was very happy when I heard about the opening here and I applied and was lucky enough to get the job,” he said. “I was at Incline for 18 years, so I was looking for a change, to experience another school.”

He started the job Aug. 11 and school starts Monday, Aug. 28. Wittemore said he is a little nervous.

“Being in the same place so long makes it tough to go to a new job. I’m a little nervous. But everyone I’ve met so far is great,” he said.

Wittemore said he is not worried about how the school will fare without Charlie Condron, who had been principal of the school since the facility opened six years ago.

“I think a lot of traditions that Charlie put in place will carry over. We have (Vice-Principal Fritz) Battcher and (Principal) Robbin Pedrett, who have been here for years. I’m sure there will be some changes – we have 15 new teachers. But the traditions that have worked for the staff will continue. New blood just helps to energize people who have been here a while,” Wittemore said.

Wittemore and Wertjes, who will teach 6th grade at Eagle Valley Middle School this year, have lived in Chichester Estates for a year with their son, Cooper, 3. Wittemore said the family has already met a lot of people and enjoys the community atmosphere.

On the weekends, Mallory Wittemore, 15, Z.J. Wittemore, 11, and Taylor Nelson, 9, come down from Incline Village where they live with their mother.

Wittemore grew up in a Los Angeles suburb and attended California State University at Los Angeles in 1985. He received his master’s degree in administration from the University of San Francisco in 1986.

At IVMS, Wittemore began as a woodworking teacher and taught science and technology. In 1998, he served as dean of students and was made vice principal last year.

As vice principal at PWLMS, Wittemore will be responsible for discipline of 7th and 8th graders. He will also oversee the special education programs.

“My outlook on discipline is just being fair. I’m going to take the time to get all the information and details before I make a decision. It’s so interesting because every situation is different. That’s what makes this job interesting,” he said.

Wittemore said he hopes to get involved in some extra-curricular activities also, because he misses getting to know the students as well as he did when he was a teacher.