Enthusiasm surrounds unanimous selection for next Port Angeles schools superintendent

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES -- A schools superintendent from Southern California's high desert country will come to the rain shadow of the North Olympic Peninsula as the next Port Angeles schools chief.

The Port Angeles School District Board of Directors selected Marc Jackson of Yermo, Calif., on Thursday night following a short executive session, returning to the public meeting only minutes later to cast a unanimous and confidant vote for Jackson.

Board President Steve Baxter then telephoned Jackson, who is superintendent at the Silver Valley Unified School District that sprawls over the Mojave Desert east of Barstow, to tell him the news and ask if he still wants the job..

"He said, enthusiastically, 'yes,'" Baxter told the board after returning from making the phone call.

Negotiations for a three-year contract will begin Friday.

"I think it will be fairly quick," Baxter said of the contract deal.

Baxter said the School Board has budgeted for as much as $155,000 a year for a superintendent salary, but Jackson's final salary will be dependent on the negotiations.

Retiring Superintendent Jane Pryne will leave her position June 30, and Jackson is expected to begin his work in Port Angeles soon after.

Jackson was selected over the other finalist, Rick Thompson, currently superintendent at the San Juan Island School District in Friday Harbor, for the job.

The board selected Jackson for many qualities he demonstrated during his visit to Port Angeles, Baxter said.

They included consistency and ability to collaborate, he said.

Reference calls to current and former colleagues resulted in information that Jackson is known to empower district employees, does not micromanage and focuses on student success, Baxter said.

"He aligns with our district and aligns with our strategic plan," he said.

Board members called their counterparts st Silver Valley to ask about Jackson's performance in his district, and received very positive feedback.

"They're not too happy with us [for taking him]," said Board Member Sarah Methner.

Before his Yermo position, Jackson 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.

On Tuesday, during a visit to Port Angeles, Jackson said he owns a home in west Port Angeles and has family ties to the region.

He holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of La Verne in California, a Master's 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.

Last modified: March 27. 2014 10:26PM
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