The board of the Hoquiam School District voted not to extend Superintendent Mike Parker’s three-year contract for an additional year Thursday evening. Parker will stay in his position for the remaining two years left on his contract beginning July 1.
Upon returning from an executive session of more than 90 minutes, the third lengthy executive session on the matter, the board seemed hesitant overall to introduce any motion, and almost adjourned without doing so. Board member Mike Cummings then introduced the motion, and board member Chris Eide was the only dissenting vote. Dave Westby, director of the board, was not present. Cummings hurried from the room at the meeting without answering questions. Eide, who acted as spokesperson for the board in place of Westby, said he viewed the decision as an action meant the give the board “a little bit of flexibility.”
Parker said he respects the board’s decision, and said he has already stayed longer than he imagined he would, adding that the tenure for a superintendent is said to be an average of six years — Parker is in his eighth year with the district. He has applied for superintendent jobs at other districts in the past.
He said decisions to cut programs, or not hire particular teachers or principals may have upset a certain segment of people.
“People kind of remember those things,” he said, adding that often decisions are “gut wrenching” but made in what he feels is the best interest of the district.
Parker said he is proud of what has been accomplished during his years with the district, including: maintaining “solid finances,” helping to start the Homelink school, promoting high poverty/high performing research implementation, instituting all-day kindergarten (before the state fully funded it), having the school recognized as one of the 2013 Schools of Distinction for the region by the Center for Educational Effectiveness, and it being awarded a “bronze medal” by U.S. News and World Report in 2013.
“Maybe after eight years your message gets kind of stale,” he said. “But I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do for eight years … If I were to leave tomorrow in some respects I’d like to say the district is better.”
Just prior to coming to Hoquiam Parker worked was superintendent at the Concrete School District for three years.
Parker said he has “a lot of ideas left,” for his remaining years with Hoquiam School District but hinted it may be difficult to execute them. “It takes a partnership doesn’t it?” he said. “Because the board is my boss, I’m only as good as the school board.”
Parker, who has a daughter who is a sophomore at Hoquiam High School, said he does not plan to limit himself to staying in the area when his contract expires. “If something came up outside of the district that was consistent with my direction, I’d probably take a look at it,” he said.