Looking for a peaceful transition

The search for a new Bremerton School District superintendent has begun.

The passing of this torch is already on track to be less contentious and much more peaceful than the last time this occurred in 2009.

In 2009, the environment surrounding the controversial departure of Superintendent Betty Hyde after her retire-and-then-rehire situation combined with her resignation under circumstances that were less than ideal had left the community torn apart and outraged.

During this period of time, I joined with a group of concerned citizens and parents.

We began to attend all of the open public meetings associated with the school board and the district that we could.

Many of us began serving on the newly formed Superintendent Search Task Force and the district’s combined Finance Committee.

It was not an easy time following a school board that appeared to be at war with itself.

A nearly constant stream of executive sessions were occurring and all of it was kept fully away from the public.

A police report was even filed regarding one of the more volatile executive sessions that occurred in October 2009.

At more than one of the regularly scheduled open school board meetings, a police presence was requested by the district and observed by community members.

A paid consultant firm was hired to conduct the search and Superintendent Flip Herndon was the eventual selection.

I wish Flip Herndon well in his new position with the Seattle School District.

He has done some good things for this district.

The diversity of the programs that are offered within the district now serves a variety of students and their learning needs.

I encourage the community to make their thoughts known during this next selection process.

I encourage the district to make the process as transparent and inclusive to the community as it can.

I suggest that the district look at the talent it has from within.

The district should look at talent with established connections to this community before they even begin to consider going outside of the area for someone who may or may not choose to live and/or fully invest themselves and their family in all aspects of Bremerton.

The student population of Bremerton is looking to the district and the community to assist in making the best leadership decision possible.

The first day of school in Bremerton is Sept. 4.

Keep checking the school district website for more information about the search for a new superintendent.

Keep reading the Bremerton Patriot which will also be keeping track of the district’s work to replace its superintendent.



Colleen Smidt is a longtime resident of Bremerton who writes weekly about community and political issues of interest to Bremerton residents.


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