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San Juan schools Superintendent Wegener packing today for Baker City, Ore.; Thompson becomes superintendent on July 1

Top photo: Walt Wegener is packing today and heading to Baker City, Ore., where he will be the new superintendent of schools effective July 1. Bottom photo: Rick Thompson, the outgoing superintendent of Lynden schools, will be sworn is as superintendent of San Juan schools in a special meeting July 1, noon, at the district office.    - Journal file photos
Top photo: Walt Wegener is packing today and heading to Baker City, Ore., where he will be the new superintendent of schools effective July 1. Bottom photo: Rick Thompson, the outgoing superintendent of Lynden schools, will be sworn is as superintendent of San Juan schools in a special meeting July 1, noon, at the district office.
— image credit: Journal file photos

Walt Wegener is packing today and heading to Baker City, Ore., where he will be the new superintendent of schools effective July 1.

Rick Thompson, the outgoing superintendent of Lynden schools, will be sworn is as superintendent of San Juan schools in a special meeting July 1, noon, at the district office.

Wegener was hired on an interim basis last year to succeed Michael Soltman, who left to become superintendent on Vashon Island. At the time, Wegener was student services coordinator in Toppenish.

At San Juan, Wegener managed the district during the sixth-grade’s move from middle school to elementary school, the transfer of management of the Experience Food Project, and voter approval of a tax levy that funds school sports through Island Rec, relieving the cash-strapped school district.

As part of his public outreach, Wegener authored a regular column, contributed to local media, called “Superintendent’s Corner.”

Wegener sent this letter to The Journal, dated June 25:

* * *

To the Editor,

As I contemplate getting on the ferry and leaving this wonderful place I am struck by the most sincere desire to say thank you for having me as your guest. It has been an extreme pleasure to be the Superintendent of Schools serving you this past year.

Our schools are very successful because there are two features on the island that make them that way. First, the family support structure on the island is powerful. Folks here know and act as a unit because we are, well, on an island. More legitimately, we also have a culture of caring for each other in the ways that make a significant difference to each person. One of the ways we care is to support the teachers. Thus, it can be seen, we support the need for broad literacy including the arts and the disciplines of learning that make literacy a reality at home, as well as at school. This is support for education in the family.

Second, teachers and the instructional supports they provide make a difference. With the parental support just mentioned the schools reap the benefits of teacher excellence in presentation and expectation. The result is a nationally recognized high school program with all the system-wide supports from kindergarten through 12th grade that make it possible.

Let me take just a moment to make a special thank you to the incredible district-wide support team in our San Juan Island School District #149 schools. Caring, pleasant, competent and extraordinarily hardworking, the people who man your central office, drive your buses, cook our meals, clean the floors, administer programs & schools and monitor the fiscal elements of this district are exceptional.

For me, the time here has been a tremendous opportunity and a wonderful time of learning and working with great people. To all of you, students, parents, staff, friends and folks I never met, thank you for having me. And, especially, to my close friends on the Board, thank you for the opportunity and counsel. As I go forward to my own new adventures, may I wish each of you all the best in your future on this emerald pearl in the Salish Sea.

Best Regards,

Walt Wegener

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