New assistant superintendent familiar with island living

Steve King is the new assistant superintendent for Oak Harbor School District. - Ron Newberry photo
Steve King is the new assistant superintendent for Oak Harbor School District.
— image credit: Ron Newberry photo

Steve King expects to feel at home when he moves his family to Whidbey Island this summer.

The Oak Harbor School District’s newly named assistant superintendent grew up in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

He and his wife Kelli are high school sweethearts who have known each other since elementary school.

“It seemed like a logical next step for me,” King said.

“When my wife and I visited Oak Harbor, we both liked the feeling of the community. We really like island living and the island lifestyle and the closeness of the Oak Harbor community.”

“The school district seemed headed in a positive direction and I liked the idea of being a part of leading them in that direction.”

King, 44, will take over as the school district’s No. 2 in charge on July 1.

His one-year contract will pay him a salary of $116,428.

He’ll come to Oak Harbor after spending nine years as principal at Mount Baker High School, which has received acclaim under his leadership. For the past three years, he’s served double duty as principal of both the high school and junior high school there.

“Our impressions of Steve that we heard were that he’s a really incredible, bright, personable and energetic leader; that he really knows good instruction and how to bring staffs together to increase success,” said Lance Gibbon, Oak Harbor superintendent.

When Gibbon met King for himself, he didn’t disappoint, noticing something special about him when he later took him on a tour of the schools.

“He was friendly and at ease with students, staff and parents,” Gibbon said. “He definitely shone in that setting.”

Karst Brandsma, Oak Harbor’s interim assistant superintendent until July, spoke highly of King’s qualities but didn’t particate in the interview process.

Brandsma saw a top central administration candidate in the making when he oversaw the Mount Baker School District as an interim superintendent and worked with King during the 2011-12 school year. He remembers suggesting to King that he ought to consider seeking his superintendent credentials.

King did just that and will finish his superintendent’s program this year.

“I was glad to see after I left that he actually enrolled in that program and developed interest in central administration,” Brandsma said. “It didn’t surprise me at all that he’d be considered a strong candidate.”

King, who has a master’s degree in school administration from Western Washington University, will oversee all aspects of instructional programs related to teaching and learning in Oak Harbor.

He brings 15 years of experience at the secondary level, including 11 years as an administrator.

He and his wife have three children, including a daughter who will be a senior at the high school.

“I’m an extremely caring person,” King said.

“I think relationships are the foundation in any improvements and successes we’re going to have in schools.”


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