VPS Superintendent Steve Webb and school board agree to immediate retirement

Camas Superintendent Jeff Snell was also named as one of four finalists to replace Webb

VANCOUVER — Two days after the Vancouver Public School Board voted 4-0 in favor of placing Superintendent Steve Webb on administrative leave, with no explanation yet as to the reason, the board announced Thursday that Webb would be retiring “effective immediately.”

Potential successors to Webb were also named, including the current superintendent of Camas School District, Dr. Jeff Snell.

The Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors reached an agreement with Dr. Steven Webb to move his retirement date up, effective immediately. File photo
The Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors reached an agreement with Dr. Steven Webb to move his retirement date up, effective immediately. File photo

The news came at the end of an hours-long executive session, following which Board President Kyle Sproul announced that “earlier this week the board engaged in negotiations with Dr. Webb based on a mutual desire to move his retirement date up.”

Webb had previously announced that he would be stepping down as superintendent at the end of June, but planned to remain with the district in an advisory capacity until July of 2022.

No reason was given for the decision to place Webb on administrative leave Tuesday night, and details of the agreement to move Webb’s retirement date up were not immediately available.

“I am immensely grateful to this community, our partners, school board members past and present and all of our incredible employees over the years who have made a difference in the lives of children,” said Webb in a statement released by the district. “Together, we have left an indelible legacy, transformed students’ lives, built new partnerships and strengthened our community.”

Webb joined Vancouver Public Schools as a deputy superintendent in 2006, before being named superintendent two years later.

“The board is grateful for Dr. Webb’s long service to the district on behalf of children and families,” said Kyle Sproul, Vancouver Public Schools’ board president. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

The board, which is missing one member after Camara Banfield was named a Superior Court Judge for Clark County by Governor Jay Inslee last month, also voted to name Kathy Everidge, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, to fill in as superintendent until a successor can be hired.

“The board’s top priority right now is making sure the needs of our students are being met while we complete the search for the new superintendent,” Sproul said. “Kathy’s depth of experience at every level of education makes her the perfect choice to guide us through this transition.”

Everidge has been with VPS for 38 years and was appointed to the assistant superintendent role in 2016.

As the board discussed in last week’s meeting, the district remains on track for the scheduled return of sixth graders to the classroom on Monday, Feb. 22, and seventh and eighth graders on Monday, March 1.

“Deputy Superintendent Mike Stromme has been instrumental in preparing staff and parents for this return to the classroom,” Sproul said. “He will continue to spearhead these efforts in the coming weeks, and we appreciate his leadership during this crucial transition.”

Finalists to replace Webb announced

During Thursday’s meeting, the board also named four finalists chosen to become the district’s next superintendent. The most familiar name on the list is Jeff Snell, currently superintendent in Camas School District.

The list, which was whittled down from nearly three dozen candidates selected by outside recruitment firm McPherson and Jacobson LLC, also includes Dr. Kenneth (Chris) Hurst, superintendent of Othello School District in Othello, Washington, as well as Dr. Karen D. Chester, a superintendent for Fort Thomas Independent Schools in Kentucky, and Dr. Hector Rico, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz, California.

Students, parents and the greater Vancouver community will get an opportunity to meet and learn more about all of the candidates at a community webinar via Zoom scheduled for Tuesday, February 16. More information on the webinar can be found at the Vancouver Public Schools website.

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