Issaquah and Renton school districts seek new superintendents
January 10, 2013
NEW — 11:05 a.m. Jan. 10, 2013
Both of the school districts that serve Newcastle are seeking new district leaders after Issaquah Superintendent Steve Rasmussen announced plans to retire at the end of the school year.
In a statement announcing his retirement, Rasmussen said he was proud of the district’s work in his six years at the helm and is excited for the school district’s future.
“I am leaving the district with an outstanding cabinet and principal/administrative team, an outstanding and effective teaching staff, sound academic plans for the future and solid financial footings for the future having passed a four-year levy in 2010 and an eight-year bond issue in April 2012 to continue providing the best educational facilities and buildings on into the future,” he said.
Rasmussen will remain with the district until June 30 and the school board will begin the process to replace him in early 2013.
His retirement caps off a 40-year career in Washington state public education and 24 years as a superintendent.
He started out as an agricultural teacher at Enumclaw High School in 1973, where he taught for five years. Rasmussen made the transition to superintendent in 1989 when he took the helm at the Deer Park School District in Spokane County. From there, he served as superintendent of Franklin Pierce School District in Pierce County until he came to the Issaquah School District in 2007.
Despite his retirement, Rasmussen said he plans to remain an active advocate for public education.
In late November, the Renton School District announced that Superintendent Mary Alice Heuschel would leave to accept the position as Gov.-elect Jay Inslee’s chief of staff in mid-January.
In a statement announcing her new position, Heuschel said that few opportunities could entice her from her current post, but the call to serve at the state level provides her an enormous opportunity to lead, impact public education and to help reform state government.
The Renton School Board worked quickly to name former Hazelwood educator Vera Risdon its interim superintendent during the expected months-long search for a new superintendent.
Risdon began her career with the district as a teacher at Hazelwood Elementary School and went on to teach at five different Renton schools from 1966 to 1982, including McKnight Middle School. She served as a principal at Hazelwood Elementary School from 1986 to 1992.
The Renton School Board hired Northwest Leadership Associates to conduct the search for a new superintendent. In the past decade, the firm conducted more than 190 superintendent searches for school districts in the Northwest.
The firm will conduct background and reference checks, visit the communities of prospective candidates and ensure the candidate is a good fit for Renton. Later work will include presenting qualified candidates to the public at community meetings.