Washington parishioner named principal of St. James School


By Celine Klosterman

WASHINGTON — A member of St. James Parish who has 15 years of experience in education has been named principal of St. James School.

Teresa Beenblossom is currently the guidance counselor at Lincoln Elementary in Washington. Her term at St. James officially begins Aug. 1, but she is already assisting in hiring teachers for the upcoming school year.

“Teresa was chosen because of her excellent professional, spiritual and personal qualifications and experience,” said Amanda Kleese, president of St. James’ Board of Education. “She has a deep, vested interest in and commitment to St. James. She also has an incredible reputation, both personally and professionally.”


In addition to serving as a guidance counselor, Beenblossom has taught second grade in the Ottumwa Community School District and worked as a sixth-grade teacher and at-risk coordinator for Washington Community Schools.

She earned a master’s degree in educational leadership and a master’s degree in counseling from Drake University in Des Moines. At Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Beenblossom’s hiring comes as part of a collaborative agreement with the Washington Community School District. Her full-time position will be shared with the ASSURE Center, an alternative high school in Washington, where she’ll work 20 percent of the time as administrator. Kleese said the agreement means Beenblossom can access resources, support and education that Washington public-school administrators can access, and St. James teachers will be able to take part in the public-school professional development and mentoring programs.

“My goal is for St. James to be a progressive, competitive school,” Beenblossom said. “I am looking to provide an exemplary educational experience creating lifelong learners with a strong faith base.”

Beenblossom and her husband, Marty, have a daughter, Brynn, who will be in third grade at St. James, and a son, Luke, who will be in kindergarten.

St. James had about 135 students in prekindergarten to sixth grade in the 2010-11 academic year.

Beenblossom takes over for Brad Thiel, who became principal of St. James in 2009.

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