No decision on Port Angeles schools superintendent
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Marc Jackson from Yermo, Calif., visited the Port Angeles School District on Tuesday. The other finalist visited the day before.
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
Rick Thompson, superintendent of schools in Friday Harbor and a finalist for Port Angeles School District superintendent, visited Port Angeles on Monday.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES -- The Port Angeles School Board delayed an expected vote Tuesday night on selecting a new superintendent of schools until Thursday.

The Port Angeles School District board met in executive session for more than an hour to discuss the qualifications of the two announced finalists -- Rick Thompson of Friday Harbor and Marc Jackson of Yermo, Calif.

The directors decided to spend two days to complete checking references and other "due diligence" processes before making a decision, said School Board President Steve Baxter.

An executive session will be added to the end of the regular Thursday board meeting agenda to review the results of the research, Baxter said.

At the end of the executive session, the board will resume the open meeting and may make a selection at that time, he said.

The regular board meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Lincoln High School, 924 W. Ninth St.

As many as 60 people attended up to four public forums to meet the two candidates, who visited separately on Monday and Tuesday.

Thompson, who visited Monday, has been superintendent of the San Juan Island School District, with district offices in Friday Harbor, since 2010.

Before then, he was superintendent and curriculum director, separate positions, in the Lynden School District, and was a middle school principal in the Cle Elum-Roslyn School District, all in this state.

He holds a Master of Educational Administration and bachelor's degrees in English and social studies from Western Washington University.

San Juan Island School District enrolls about 850 students in one high school, one middle school, two elementary schools and a K-12 school.

Jackson is superintendent of Silver Valley Unified School District, with district offices located in the Mojave Desert town of Yermo, Calif., near Barstow and north of San Bernardino.

He served as assistant superintendent of schools and personnel in the Oxnard, Calif., School District and has been principal at two high schools and a middle school in California.

Jackson, who during his Tuesday visit said he has a second home in west Port Angeles and family ties in the area, holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of La Verne in California, a Master in Education from California State University, Fullerton, and a bachelor's degree in history from La Verne College.

Silver Valley is home to Fort Irwin, a U.S. Army training base, and children of military members assigned to the base attend the district's schools.

It has an enrollment of about 3,000 students, including a high school, an alternative school, a middle school and four elementary/intermediate schools.


EARLIER REPORT FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITION:

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — There is too much testing in school, not enough teaching and students need more than just the basics to keep them in school, superintendent candidate Marc Jackson said in a Tuesday afternoon forum.

The second of two finalists to sit for a series of public meetings this week, Jackson, of Yermo, Calif., was interviewed by Port Angeles School Board members Tuesday at a special meeting followed by two public forums.

The board was initially scheduled to make a final selection at Thursday’s regular meeting, but School Board President Steve Baxter said the board could make a decision in a special meeting that was scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday, immediately after the final public forum at Jefferson Elementary School.

Rick Thompson, currently superintendent of the San Juan Island School District, completed his interviews Monday.
Neither candidate planned to be at the Tuesday evening board meeting.

Current Superintendent Jane Pryne is retiring on June 30 after five years in Port Angeles.

At the Tuesday afternoon interview, the board asked a series of questions about Jackson’s educational ideology, budget practices and management style, as well as his views on career and technical education and extracurricular programs.

Core academic education and extracurricular activities need to be balanced, Jackson said.

“We want our students to graduate, first,” he said.

There are some students who only go to school every day because of their connection to the football team or the arts, he said, and such activities give students the chance to be kids and have fun.

“It is the cement that holds the system together,” he said.

Jackson said he was a member of a California committee tasked to design a model to engage students in career pathways.

“We’re finding there is a need to do more with technical skills,” he said.

Schools offer plenty of academics for the students who plan to attend four year universities, he said, but there is a need for vocational training for students, such as those who only need two years of training to work in the medical field.

Jackson said he actively monitors district budget activity, through weekly committee meetings, and aligns his efforts with the school board’s values strategic plan.

At Yermo, those values were to put students and teaching first, he said.

Like Port Angeles, Yermo, Calif., is also going through a major facilities upgrade project and is implementing the Common Core Standards, he said.

Jackson is superintendent of Silver Valley Unified School District, with district offices located in Yermo, with an enrollment of about 3,000 students.

He served as assistant superintendent of schools and personnel in the Oxnard, Calif., School District and has been principal at two high schools and a middle school in California.

Jackson holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of La Verne in California, a Master in Education from California State University Fullerton, and a bachelor’s degree in history from La Verne College.

Jackson is not a stranger to Washington state or the Port Angeles area, he told the School Board.

He has owned a house near Place Road for 18 years, and has been a regular visitor to the area for 34 years.

“I’m not afraid of the rain,” he said.

His wife grew up in the Tacoma area, and his father-in-law was a naturalist at Olympic National Park.

Last modified: March 26. 2014 9:35AM
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