Coupeville schools get new leader

After a lengthy and rigorous search process, the Coupeville School District at last has selected its new superintendent.

It was announced at a special meeting of the school board Tuesday that Bill Myhr, currently superintendent of the Elma School District, has signed to a four-year contract to assume the position being vacated by retiring Suzanne Bond. Myhr will receive an annual salary beginning at $100,500 and will start work in July.

He will also receive up to $1,500 in moving expenses.

Myhr was the board’s first choice among the remaining two finalists, edging out Anacortes School District administrator Don Brannam for the job. Earlier in the process, the third finalist, Harry Vanikiotis, of Northshore, accepted a position elsewhere, thereby dropping out of the race.

The vote for Myhr was unanimous.

Myhr (pronounced Meyer) has spent the past 7 years as an administrator in Elma; for the last 3 years, he has been that district’s acting superintendent. He has also served in different capacities in the Ferndale and Eatonville school districts, and spent time in the mid-’80s as an exchange teacher in the Sichuan Province in the People’s Republic of China.

Myhr received his masters of education at Pacific Lutheran University, and was recently certified through the superintendent program at Seattle Pacific University.

At a candidate forum held in the Coupeville Performance Center on April 30, Myhr told the audience he “became an educator based on students’ needs, not my own.” He said that he chose to apply for the job in Coupeville because he was looking for a “student-centered community,” and that he was very interested in carrying on the “good work” of the district’s current superintendent, Bond.

“The biggest resource we have is the human resource, and that’s why I find it attractive to be in Coupeville,” Myhr said, adding that his favorite saying is, “Let’s wear our buildings out, don’t let them rust out.”

Myhr, who cited Stephen Covey’s book “The Seven Highly Effective Habits of Succesful People” as a highly influential texts, listed his strengths as creating community partnerships, “pushing the envelope on school programs” and fostering a caring, quality staff.

“My hobbies are school,” Myhr told the audience.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Dick Smith — a Seattle Pacific University educator who conducted the superintendent search as an independent contractor — thanked the school board for its “extra effort” in visiting the finalists’ districts in order to get a bird’s-eye view of their capabilities.

“You have acted as a veteran board,” Smith said. “For some of you, that is a high compliment, indeed.”

Smith presented each board member with a ceremonial pen with which to sign Myhr’s new contract. The entire meeting lasted a mere 6 minutes, a fact noted proudly by board president Mitchell Howard.

Myhr will attend the May 21 meeting of the Coupeville School Board, held at 7 p.m. in the elementary school library.

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