Rob Clark is officially sworn in as the interim superintendent of the Sequim School District by Judge Brian Coughenour at the Monday school board meeting. (Conor Dowley/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Rob Clark is officially sworn in as the interim superintendent of the Sequim School District by Judge Brian Coughenour at the Monday school board meeting. (Conor Dowley/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim School Board member resigns

Robin Henrickson resigns from the Sequim school board, admin changes announced

SEQUIM — Sequim School Board member Robin Henrikson has resigned and the district has begun a search for an interim board member.

The board accepted Henrikson’s resignation Monday after she sent a letter July 18.

In her resignation letter, Henrikson urged the School Board to appoint the declared and unopposed candidate for the general election in November to allow the board to have an easier transition process with a new superintendent.

“I think appointing a candidate who is running for my current District One position now makes a lot of sense rather than waiting for a more difficult transition in December,” wrote Henrikson, who did not attend the meeting.

Instead, the school district will accept applications from people interested in holding the seat on an interim basis until the Nov. 5 election.

That was the recommendation of interim Superintendent Rob Clark. The plan was approved 3-0, with board member Heather Short not present.

Applications will be accepted until Sept. 5, with public interviews conducted Sept. 9.

According to board President Brian Kuh, candidates on the ballot will not be considered to avoid giving them an “undue advantage” over any potential opponents.

Henrikson declined to run for re-election to retain her board director position in the general election this November.

Henrikson, who is an adjunct professor at Seattle Pacific University, previously served as the president of the board and has in recent board meetings expressed her frustration in the difficulty the board has had in accomplishing its goals.

Administrators

In other action, the School Board was updated on new administrators in the school district, including new Sequim Middle School (SMS) Principal Mark Harris, most recently the assistant principal at McClure Elementary School in the Yakima School District.

Harris takes over for Vince Riccobene, who was removed from that position recently and named lead administrator of Sequim Options School.

Clark has said previously that Riccobene also will help with administrative duties across the school district.

Sequim Middle School counselor Cathy Shea is taking a one-year leave of absence, Clark noted.

The reason for her leave was not specified. Shea was named in the 2018 federal discrimination lawsuit against the district, along with Riccobene and SMS Assistant Principal Rhonda Kromm, who remains in her position.

Greywolf Elementary School has two new assistant principals, with Mark Willis coming over from the same post at Sequim High School while splitting his time running the Olympic Peninsula Academy, and Jennifer Lopez sharing the Greywolf position. Lopez most recently served as the school’s family engagement coordinator and is a former Greywolf classroom teacher.

With Willis leaving Sequim High School, Kristi Queen is now the only assistant principal at the high school.

Budget deficit

The board also approved a 2019-20 budget, which will see the district operate at a loss of $140,946 for the school year.

That number is based on what district Director of Business Operations Darlene Apeland called a “conservative” enrollment projection through the course of the school year, and also includes $68,590 in debt service payments.

It approved a bid from Sodexo to continue providing food service for the school district on an initial one-year contract with four one-year options.

Clark and Kuh expressed an interested in exploring self-operation options for the district in the future.

________

Conor Dowley is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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