01/20/2010: "The New SJI Superintendent?"
The San Juan Island School District extended an invitation on January 15th to Mr. Rick Thompson to apply for the position of District Superintendent. he has now accepted the invitation and submitted and application.
Mr. Thompson is currently the superintend of the Lyden school district. He is expected to be in Friday Harbor on Tuesday and Wednesday (26th & 27th) for interviews, to tour the district facilities, and to meet with district staff and community members.
Rick has served as Superintendent at Lynden for the past two years and prior to that was curriculum director there.
He has indicated to the Lynden district that he will not be returning as their superintendent next year. Upon receipt of Mr. Thompson’s application, further information about his background and qualifications will be immediately made available.
Board Chair David McCauley states “Rick Thompson shone brightly on our radar screen during our 2009 selection process yet was convinced by the Lynden district to stay on as their Superintendent for another year. He is well known and has been highly recommended by former district administrators, regional ESD staff, and our recruiting firm Northwest Leadership Associates. While it is somewhat unusual to bring in a single candidate prior to initiating a general search, we see this as a continuation of the recruiting effort we began last year and feel we can leverage the continuity with last year’s process to evaluate Rick in light of the pool of candidates likely to be available to us this year.”
Should the district not hire Mr. Thompson, it will immediately open the position and advertise for applications to be submitted in February for a final decision in early April. In order to minimize the delay to such a process, every effort will be made to complete this evaluation in the most expedient manner while providing full disclosure of information and offering complete participation of district staff and the community.
A personal statement from Mr. Thompson
My career in public education has been rich. I have met so many wonderful people in so many different circumstances. I was taught very young that education can help people realize their dreams and I still believe that today, despite so much criticism of public schools. My entire administrative career has been overshadowed with the pressures of school reform, navigating the bureaucracy in ways to help kids learn.
Serving as the Superintendent in Lynden has been a great opportunity to get things done while given the multiple dynamics which naturally take place in a time of transition.
I would like to continue the work as Superintendent. I know many of the people here, have built a community of relationships to support the work, have a background in complex leadership positions, and can make the many difficult decisions to help the District meet its potential.
I look forward to meeting you.
Mr. Thompson was raised in Renton, Washington where he attended Renton public schools K-12. Upon graduation he enrolled in Western Washington University and graduated cum laude in English Education with a minor in history and political science. He cites coaches, family members and friends who were educators as his most influential role models.
He taught in suburban Federal Way for six years where he also served as a class advisor, administrative intern, and tennis coach. As a coach, Mr. Thompson completed a league record of 67-5, including West Central District Championships.
From 1987 to 1989 Mr. Thompson earned his Master of Education in School Administration through Western Washington University (Seattle campus). His master’s thesis reviewed the research describing behaviors of effective principals.
He began his administrative career serving as a middle level principal for four years in two small rural districts which gave him experience in K-12 operations, board relations, staff evaluation, and athletic administration.
Mr. Thompson served as a school administrator in Tacoma for nine years in the roles of assistant principal, high school principal, and assistant to the superintendent. His years in Tacoma included a major construction project, developing a comprehensive guidance and counseling program, staff development, and leadership for instructional programs. In his final year he specialized in district communications and in narrowing the achievement gap. Mr. Thompson is well versed in working with diverse student populations.
He trained with the Center for Leadership in School Reform teaching teachers how to improve instruction by increasing the level of engagement they design in the work provided by students.
In his five years in Lynden, Mr. Thompson has been responsible for the implementation of the district science strategic plan, a replacement of the K-12 math curriculum, the district assessment system, teacher and administrator staff development and related leadership for the district instructional programs. He also developed the 5th grade outdoor education program with teachers.
In 2008 Mr. Thompson completed a two year superintendent credential program in Everett through Western Washington University where his studies focused on public policy, Board governance, and public school finance. In this program Mr. Thompson interned at the district office while working full-time.
Mr. Thompson is the proud uncle to Kyle, Reese, Mitchell, Evan, and Savannah Jane. He lives on Cambridge Drive in Lynden. When not working, Mr. Thompson enjoys attending church, cooking with family and friends, reading, hiking, and volunteering in the Lynden community with the noon Kiwanis club.