Port Angeles schools chief selected; contract to be negotiated with Shelton man

Martin Brewer

Martin Brewer

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles School Board members have unanimously chosen Pioneer School District’s superintendent as the district’s new top administrator.

The board selected Shelton’s Martin Brewer to join the district staff effective July 1 during its Thursday meeting at Jefferson Elementary School.

Board President Sarah Methner said it was a “difficult” decision to select Brewer from among the top four candidates. It was his energy that made him stand out, she said.

“We had four really stellar candidates,” she said. “There was a lot of education in the room, a lot of energy, a lot of great plans.”

Brewer, who said he hopes his contract will be negotiated sometime this week, said Friday he is excited to move to Port Angeles.

“It’s an absolute honor to be offered this position,” Brewer said. “My wife and I … are excited to buy a home in the Port Angeles School District and make a long-term commitment to the schools and community.”

Brewer said his goal in finding his “next challenge” was to find a school district on the Olympic Peninsula, because his family already lives in Mason County.

Other finalists were Chuck Lisk, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning at Port Angeles School District; Mary Templeton, human resource director of certified personnel at Spokane Public Schools; and Jared Hoadley, assistant superintendent of student services at Mead School District near Spokane.

Methner said that though there was little discussion about who to hire during the meeting Thursday, the board already had spent “many, many, many hours” considering before making a final decision.

“Martin has a lot of energy and will bring a fresh perspective to our area,” she said. “His references were amazing and he’s done some really good work in the Pioneer School District.”

Board Vice President Sandy Long agreed that it was a difficult decision. She said she knows the district and community will support Brewer in his move to Port Angeles.

“I know we were all going to come together and work together …. to help Mr. Brewer find his way here in our city,” she said. “We’re all looking forward to some inventive new things happening and we’re looking forward to working with the staff in place here.”

Brewer will succeed Port Angeles Superintendent Marc Jackson, who announced last year he would retire June 29 of this year.

Jackson has more than 40 years of experienced in education, four of which he spent as superintendent in Port Angeles.

Methner noted that under Brewer’s leadership, Pioneer School District was successful in recent years in passing a bond.

“It’s a relatively economically-distressed area,” she said.

Brewer said it will be bittersweet to leave Pioneer School District after serving as its superintendent for seven years, but he is proud of what he has accomplished.

The district had failed to pass a bond 17 times over 14 years, but under his leadership, voters finally approved a $25.4 million bond to redo the district’s middle school in February of 2015.

Port Angeles School District has failed to pass capital levies and bonds in recent years.

The levy on the February ballot was intended to fund major renovations at Stevens Middle School, but the measure failed with 4,642 votes against and 4,525 in favor. It failed by 1.28 percentage points.

“I feel like I have some potential abilities to help with those conversations around capital needs,” Brewer said. “I absolutely can help with the capital needs of the Port Angeles School District.”

Methner said the School Board listened to feedback from school staff, teachers and the community in what to look for in the district’s new superintendent.

The school district hosted community forums last week with each of the four finalists before the board made its decision Thursday.

“We tried to get every stakeholder we possibly could,” she said. “I want to thank all the people who participated and gave us some very valuable feedback.

“We absolutely listened to what our stakeholders had to say.”

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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