Phoenix-Talent SD names next PHS principal
May 23, 2022
Phoenix-Talent SD names next PHS principal
PHOENIX ― Medford’s McLoughlin Middle School principal Kalin Cross has been selected to replace outgoing principal Toby Walker at Phoenix High School, Phoenix-Talent School District superintendent Brent Barry announced today.
Cross, a former assistant principal, activities director and teacher, will begin her new post July 1.
The announcement marks the end of an exhaustive search that yielded 11 applicants and three finalists, including Cross.
“But one kept rising to the top,” Barry said of Cross. “We are very excited to have somebody whose passion for students is evident in all that she does. We saw that in her resume, and it became even more clear during the interviews. It’s very challenging any time you have to replace a great leader like Toby, but I think our students, staff and families are going to love what Kalin brings to PHS. It’s a perfect fit and I’m very excited to see what she has in store for the Pirate ship.”
Walker, who is in his fourth year as PHS principal, is leaving to become the next principal at Cascade Christian High School.
Cross took over as the principal at McLoughlin prior to the 2021-22 school year following a two-year stint as assistant principal there. Before that, she was the activities director at South Medford High School for three years, starting in 2016.
Cross said it was Phoenix High’s stellar reputation in the community that inspired her to apply for the job.
“Every single kid I’ve run into who has graduated from here or who is going here has nothing but incredible things to say about how the staff here goes above and beyond for kids, and that shined through when I was asking questions in my interview,” she told the staff during a brief introductory speech in the PHS library Friday afternoon. “I really wanted to know, ‘OK, I’ve seen the stats, I’ve seen the percentages, I looked at the report card, but what is it?’ And every single person in the interview panel said, ‘It’s us. We’re the family, we’re the people.’ …I believe in that so much and I believe that staff sets the cadence for the school, and I am so excited to just be part of that rhythm here and to serve alongside you.”
Cross’ career in public education began when she was hired as a ninth-grade language arts teacher at South Medford High School in 2012. Before that, she worked as a case manager and life coach for Hearts With a Mission Youth Shelter, and for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
She has also served on Medford School District’s reading team, working conditions advisory team, grading team, comprehensive counseling and guidance leadership team, strategic planning team, middle school planning team and SPED advisory team.
In the biography portion of her application, Cross identified her volunteer work as an instrumental force in driving her career choice.
“I learned just as much at the Boys and Girls Club as I did in the classes I was paying tuition for,” she wrote. “I fell in love with living life with others. It was absolutely entrancing to watch someone celebrate success after walking alongside them in the mud and grime of real life. That magic is the biggest reason that I believe in public education and that’s why I pursued a graduate program to earn my MAT.”
Cross will take over for Walker, who started in the Phoenix-Talent School District as an assistant football coach in 2005 before leaving for a year to take his first teaching job at Ontario School District. Walker returned to PTS in 2007 to take a job as an elementary physical education teacher. He served as Phoenix High’s varsity head coach for seven years, athletics director/assistant principal for four years and worked another year exclusively as assistant principal before taking over as principal in 2018.
"I have been incredibly blessed to serve in and be part of the Phoenix-Talent School District and Phoenix High School for 15 years," Walker said. "I have had the opportunity to work with and serve fantastic staff, students, families, and this wonderful community, and for that, I am forever grateful. I thank Phoenix-Talent for all the opportunities, experiences, and memories. I wouldn't trade the last 15 years for anything."
Phoenix-Talent SD communications specialist Joe Zavala can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-821-0829.