A transition with dignity and respect | Editorial

A new superintendent of schools has been hired for the San Juan Island School District. We welcome Lynden School Superintendent Rick Thompson to our district. But our warmest applause must go to Walt Wegener. Our interim superintendent handled the search for his successor with class. We hope to see him in the position he desires in time for the 2010-11 school year.

Imagine leaving a solid job. You get the job you want, but on an interim basis. You successfully implement the financial and restructuring decisions made before you arrived on the job. You reach out to the community, working through local media to improve the public’s understanding of what’s happening.

Your boss decides you’ve done the job “as advertised” but that he or she wants to test the waters and see who else is available. You attend the meetings in which your boss openly discusses possibly replacing you. Meanwhile, you spend your 8-to-5 implementing your boss’ policies and acting in the best interests of your constituents.

That’s exactly what Wegener did. Whenever we talked to him regarding the superintendent search, he was always in good humor. He always talked respectfully and understandingly of what the school board was trying to accomplish. “What we’re interested in is that San Juan get the best superintendent possible,” he said in an earlier interview.

School board members, too, were praiseworthy of Wegener. They treated him with dignity and respect.

We can only speculate why the school board chose to hire a new superintendent. More vision? A better fit? But speculation would not do justice to the way the school board and Wegener handled this latest chapter in the school district’s transition.

Wegener will leave the San Juan Island School District with some accomplishments on his resume, letters of recommendation from school board members, and with our best wishes for success.

Thank you for your service, Superintendent Wegener. And to our new superintendent, welcome.

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