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Jerry Holsten named new SKHS principal

Students and staff at South Kitsap High School (SKHS) will start the school year this fall with a new man at the top.

Jerry Holsten was hired to replace SKHS Principal Dave Colombini, who has accepted the position of principal at Kopachuck Middle School in the Peninsula School District.

Colombini has been in charge of the roughly 2,500 students who attend the high school, the largest in the state, since 1998.

He was appointed to his new post on March 22 by the Peninsula School District board of directors. Colombini will replace Jay Reifel who will retire at the end of the school year.

“My years at South have been rich with relationships and opportunities to work with highly professional staff, extraordinary students and a caring community,” Colombini said. “I will always be grateful for my years with South Kitsap School District.”

Holsten comes to South Kitsap from Selah, where he is the principal of Selah High School, an 800-student school near Yakima.

He has worked in Selah for nine years and spent the previous 16 years on the western side of the state.

Holsten is a former North Mason High School administrator, where he was an administrative intern from 1987 to 1996. He began his education career in 1981 as a math teacher, earning his principal credentials and MA in education from Western Washington University in Bellingham.

“I’m extremely excited to be coming to South Kitsap,” Holsten said Thursday from his office in Selah. “It’s a large school, it’s going to be a challenge, but everyone that I’ve met so far has made me believe that it’s a great place to be.”

Holsten said that although he doesn’t officially take on his new role until the end of July, he plans to be in Port Orchard as much as he can.

Born in Bremerton, Holsten said his grandparents lived in Port Orchard.

“It kind of feels like I’m coming home,” Holsten said.

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