Joe Hamilton Elementary

"Equipping Students for Success"


  • Joe Hamilton and Crescent Elk Lockdown Final Update - 3:58 PM 6/10/2022

    Good afternoon, I’m Jeff Harris, Superintendent of Schools for Del Norte County.
    As you know, today we had lockdowns at Crescent Elk and Joe Hamilton. The lockdowns were called by our school resource officer, Officer Sanders, in response to a call to dispatch. Given the information, at the time, the lockdowns were put into place as a precautionary measure. Within two minutes of calling the precautionary lockdown, the staff at both schools had completely secured the campuses, and law enforcement had taken full command at both sites. The Crescent Elk and Joe Hamilton staff did an amazing job responding quickly and ensuring the safety of our students.
    The incident that led to the lockdown was ultimately found to have stemmed from an altercation in the community between youth earlier this week, which led to the posting of threats on social media. Both youths were located and questioned by law enforcement, and no substantiated threats were found against either school. Reports of an active shooter, shots being fired, or students with guns are not accurate.
    As always in situations like this, conversations travel on social media more quickly than facts can be accurately relayed. When a situation like this occurs, the most accurate and up-to-date information can be found first on law enforcement pages and through school district communications. School information is released as quickly as it is verified and allowed to be released by law enforcement.
    I’d like to thank all of our law enforcement partners for their quick responses and support for students and staff. I’d especially like to thank our school resource officer, Officer Sanders, who initiated the lockdown, and Chief Griffin, who led command of the situation. Both stayed throughout the situation and remained after the lockdown to talk to parents, students, and families about what actually happened.
    I’d also like to thank the families who heard from their children or through social media about the situation and came to the school to make sure that their child was safe. Every person who came was respectful and allowed law enforcement and school officials to ensure that processes and protocols were followed to keep our students and staff safe.
    While some may wonder why the decision was made to lock down a school over a threat, the choice of law enforcement and the district will always be to place the safety of students and staff first.
    Thank you


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  • 6/10/2022 - Joe Hamilton Lockdown


    This morning, Joe Hamilton Elementary School was placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure in response to a lockdown taking place at Crescent Elk. This was done to ensure the safety of all students. There is no incident currently taking place at Joe Hamilton.

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  • Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten Registration


    If you have a child who will be entering transitional kindergarten or kindergarten in August, we would like to encourage you to enroll them as soon as possible.  We are creating new TK spaces, arranging kindergarten rooms, and working to staff kindergarten classes next year, and we want to make sure that we are planning the best programs possible.  To register your child, you can contact any of our schools or the district office for more information.


    For contact information on all of our schools, please visit

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School News

Phone: 707.464.0330


Degrees and Certifications:

Ed.D., Educational Leadership M.Ed., Cross-Cultural Teaching M.A., Spanish B.A., Spanish

Dr. Will Cushman

Welcome to Joe Hamilton Elementary!

I'm so excited to be Principal of Joe Hamilton Elementary! Mrs. Harnden has been amazing in helping me transition into the lead role as she happily embarks on her retirement. Staff, students, and families have made me feel at home at Joe Hamilton, and I'm looking forward to a great year ahead!

This is my 16th year in education. Most recently, I was Principal of Fairfield High School in the bay area for five years. I truly loved the staff and students of Fairfield High, but I did not love the triple-digit heat at my home in the Sacramento area! My wife and I have two awesome boys, Chase and Ryan, who attend Del Norte schools. We also have a dog named Kaos and a cat named Jack. Del Norte county offers a fantastic climate, great opportunities for outdoor recreation, and the close connections of a small town. It's a wonderful place to be!

I try to be out on campus and in classrooms as much as possible, but you can always set up a time to meet with me by calling Chelsea in the front office. I'm looking foward to meeting you and working with you to support every student in growing and learning.

Go Sea Otters!