About Mr. Suhling

  • Principal, Mr. Suhling Mr. Suhling is a graduate of Eastern Washington University in 2001 with an undergraduate degree in Music Education and Music Performance. Starting his teaching career in the Washougal School District as a high school band director. The WHS Band and Percussion Program won numerous awards under Mr. Suhling’s direction. In 2004, WHS percussion ensemble won thestate competition. The jazz ensembles at WHS won multiple awards at regional and state festivals including top three placements at the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival, the Clark College Jazz Festival, the Clackamus Jazz Competition, and the Auburn Jazz Festival. After three years in Washougal and an increase in enrollment from 30 students to 120, he moved to the Tumwater Schools to become the director of Bands at Black Hills High School and the 5th/6thgrade director at Black Lake Elementary. His bands experienced equal success with three percussion ensembles winning regional competitions and the BHHS Jazz Ensemble awarded outstanding jazz ensemble at the 2004 Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival.

    In 2006, Mr. Suhling was offer the position of Cheney High School Director of Bands and K-12 Instrumental Curriculum Coordinator. During his seven year tenure in Cheney, the program grew from an enrollment of 40 students to more than 160. The CHS Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Wind Ensemble were consistently invited to perform with guest composers, arrangers, and conductors regularly. Students from the 2006-2013 CHS Band and Percussion Program have gone on to successful music careers of their own including performing, composing, and teaching in public and private schools throughout the country. Mr. Suhling’s students received more than 150 individual and group awards at music festivals and competitions over the seven years he led the program.

    Mr. Suhling received a few professional honors as a teacher. He was invited as a presenter at the All-Northwest Music Convention in 2010 on recruitment and retention in public school music programs. He has been invited to be a guest clinician and conductor many times and continues to do so each year. In his time in the Cheney Public Schools, he was recognized as the2008 Cheney High School Teacher of the Year, the 2012 December EWU/KHQ Teacher of the Month, and the STCU/Spokane Lilac Festival 2012 Teacher of the Year.

    After 12 year of teaching and music curriculum coordination, he moved to St. John, WA as the principal for St. John-Endicott High School and St. John Elementary. In 2013-14, St. John Elementary was awarded by OSPI as a high progress elementary school for their gains on state assessments. That same year, St. John-Endicott High School received a high progress award in Mathematics. In 2014-15, SJ Elementary was awarded as a School of Distinction having performed in the top 5% of schools in Washington State.

    In 2015, Mr. Suhling was offer a position in the North Thurston Public Schools as the principal at Chambers Prairie Elementary and moved to Lacey. 2016-17 was a year of high academic growth for Chambers Prairie with the school outperforming the state average on both Reading and Math for the first time since the school opened in 2009. Mr. Suhling completed his Superintendent credentaling at the end of the 2017 school year. 

    Mr. Suhling has three children Ruby, Elsie, and Rylan. Ruby and Elsie attend the outstanding school of Chambers Prairie. Rylan will begin his educational journey at Chambers Prairie in 2018 as a kindergartener. Mr. Suhling's wife is also an educator having worked as a special education teacher in the Cheney School District and the Evergreen School District. She currently subs broadly in the Thurston County area.

Letter from Mr. Suhling

  • Chambers Prairie has had an amazing fall. The atmosphere of our school, both student and staff, is positive, upbeat, and one of high quality learning. From the playground to the classroom, we are enjoying the opportunity we have to teach everything from skills in conflict resolution to skills in advanced mathematics. The staff at Chambers Prairie remains committed to whole-child education where we prioritize teaching our students real life lessons at the same time we grow their academic abilities. We have a belief that academic skills are built on strong Social and Emotional Skills. The results of this focus are clear. CPES has seen improved scores on state assessments of nearly 20% average in the last two years. In addition, Chambers remains a high academic growth school with above average growth rate in Reading-Writing and Math as compared to elementary schools across the state.

    We continue to offer a lot of opportunity for our parents to be a part of what we do. We have clubs running before and after school that could use volunteers including our garden club, art clubs, choir, writing club, STEM club, crossing guards, and more. You are also welcome to join our PTA, volunteer on our playground or in classes, or come be a part of helping our kids in any other way you feel you can.

    Along with all of this, we are appreciative of the opportunity we have to educate your students in an increasingly safe and secure environment. The facilities upgrades for advancing security at CPES are still in process with some final adjustments to the front office entry and finishing touches to our new fencing. Thank you to the PTA for the newly updated front entry and NTPS for the new security fencing. Your patience and understanding is appreciated as we complete these adjustments. We hope that we will be able to complete and implement all adjustments to our building by January 1, 2019.

    -Mike Suhling

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