Former Sequim School District superintendent Neal picked to lead Eatonville schools

Gary Neal.

Gary Neal.

Gary Neal, who was the Sequim School District superintendent from 2015-2019, has been was hired as superintendent for the Eatonville School District.

Eatonville School District’s board of directors voted on May 19 to hire Neal following a multi-state superintendent search.

“We chose Mr. Neal for his track record of listening to students, innovation in STEM and CTE programs and his work in equity and social/ emotional support, including working with the Legislature on anti-harassment/ bullying programs,” Eatonville school board president Jeff Lucas said in an announcement of the decision on Eatonville School District’s website.

Neal will begin work on July 1.

Gary Neal.

Gary Neal.

“I was very excited when the superintendent position opened in Eatonville and for the opportunity to work for a progressive and innovative district,” Neal said in the announcement.

“Eatonville School District is known for its supportive and involved community powered by a passionate staff and School Board. I am humbled and honored to have been selected and look forward to getting to work.”

Neal started with the Sequim School District in July 2014, when he was hired as assistant superintendent of teaching and learning worked under then-superintendent Kelly Shea.

He began his term as Sequim’s interim superintendent in July 2015 as the Sequim School Board sought Shea’s successor, but the board declined to hire any of the three finalists and removed Neal’s “interim” status in November 2015.

The decision to not extend his contract in 2019 drew mixed reactions; a group of community members spoke in support of Neal in April 2019, but Sequim Education Association representatives later revealed 88 percent of its members in a survey voted to recommend not extending Neal’s contract. Union representatives said that the survey went out before Neal’s decision to resign was made public.

Neal was a finalist for a superintendent position with the Hockinson School District in southwest Washington state in February 2019 but was not selected.

Neal went on to work as a senior program director for Vanir Construction Management, Inc. of Bellevue — the same firm which oversaw construction of the district’s $5.75 million capital levy project in 2017 to construct a new central kitchen and deconstruct the unused Sequim Community School.

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