Schoolschoose new superintendent

Published on Thu, Apr 13, 2006 by ack Kintner

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Schools choose new superintendent

By Jack Kintner

The Blaine school board, meeting in executive session last Friday afternoon, hired assistant superintendent Ron Spanjer of the Port Angeles school district to be Blaine’s new superintendent of schools.
Spanjer, 48, replaces Dr. Mary Lynne Derrington who announced her resignation earlier this year to join the education faculty at Western Washington University (WWU). Derrington will serve out the remainder of the school year.

“My wife Shirley and I view the area as an ideal location to live and work,” said Spanjer over the weekend. “First of all, the Blaine school district has a reputation for high quality leadership and there’s obviously strong support in the overall community for the schools,” Spanjer said. Another plus for him is the “presence of a highly skilled and dedicated staff, the clear evidence of which is the consistent success of students academically at all levels of the program.”
Spanjer was publicly interviewed last week at the district administration building along with the other finalist, assistant superintendent Tim Yeomans of the Mt. Baker school district. Yeomans is a former football and wrestling coach whose teaching background is at the high school level, while Spanjer’s is in elementary education.

During his interview Spanjer made several points in describing his leadership philosophy and work style. Among them were his high expectations for student performance and a subsequent commitment to support for those that work within the system, personal accountability, clear and consistent communication, a commitment to strong professional relationships within the system and defining the overall success of the district as “dependent upon the individual growth and success of each and every staff member.”

Spanjer grew up in Sprague and Cheney, Washington, the son of a John Deere farm implement dealer. He graduated from WWU in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Six years later he earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Central Washington University and anticipates finishing the superintendent’s credential program at Seattle Pacific University this May.

He served as an elementary teacher and elementary and middle school principal in the Battle Ground, Washington, school district for 10 years. Moving to Port Angeles in 1998 he became principal of Jefferson Elementary and three years later became executive director of student services. In 2003 he was promoted to assistant superintendent, supervising a staff of nine, including five elementary principals. Port Angeles School District enrolls 4,300 students and has an annual operating budget of $38 million. Blaine has roughly 2,000 students and a budget of $17.5 million.

The Spanjers enjoy hiking, beach walking and traveling around western Washington. Their daughter Amy, 25, is a registered nurse in Portland, Oregon. Daughter Kimberly, 22, teaches kindergarten in Kelso, Washington, and Andrew, 19, is a freshman at WWU. Shirley teaches at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Preschool in Port Angeles.