District hires new business director

After more than a week of scrambling to fill the position, the Oak Harbor School District named Vicki Villanueva as business director, a move confirmed by the school board Monday evening.

Villanueva brings more than 10 years of school district finance experience to the position.

“I had a similar position in Florida and this seemed like a perfect fit,” Villanueva said after the meeting.

Her hiring comes more than a week after the person previously hired to be business director, Jim Fenstermaker, resigned after only three days on the job to return to his former position with the Marysville School District.

After Fenstermaker quit, school officials hurried to fill the vacancy. Officials contacted other finalists and started advertising for the position again.

Superintendent Rick Schulte said that there was still a strong applicant pool even after Fenstermaker resigned.

He added during the meeting that Villanueva stood out from the other applicants because of her school experience.

“It was clear that someone with school experience has a leg up,” Schulte said of the five people who were interviewed for the position.

Villanueva had previously worked for Polk County School Board in Florida. During her 11-year stint in that school district, she rose through the ranks and was director of finance when she resigned last year and moved to Whidbey Island. In Florida, she was responsible for an $888 million budget.

“I’m really thrilled to have her here. Her own enthusiasm is another reason to have her here,” Schulte said.

It’s uncertain exactly when Villanueva will start work for Oak Harbor. She is currently a budget analyst for Skagit County and has to resign from that position before starting her new job.

Long-time Business Director Pam Ross will stay on board until Villanueva begins and is familiarized with the school district’s computer system.

Ross said she hopes to finally retire at the end of this month or by the end of September.

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