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Interim Oak Harbor schools superintendent heading home

After fulfilling his 190-day contract as the interim assistant superintendent of the Oak Harbor School District, Karst Brandsma has returned home to Everett, Wash., to enjoy time with his grandkids, traveling and working on house projects.

This past year with the Oak Harbor School District was his 37th year in public education.

Brandsma retired from full-time work in 2009 as the superintendent of the Everett School District. Since then, he has helped out a few districts with temporary positions, like being the deputy superintendent in the Bellingham School District and the interim superintendent in the Mount Baker School District, as well as his position in Oak Harbor.

“That experience really helped when we were going to make changes and decisions, because he could bring to the table multiple perspectives,” said Lance Gibbon, the superintendent of OHSD.

“People in Oak Harbor have asked me (what my next step is),” Brandsma said. “In all seriousness, I told them that after working in such a wonderful school district in Oak Harbor, I’ll be very selective.”

He said he’s not actively looking for any new employment right now and is enjoying his retirement. But he added that if the right opportunity presented itself, he would consider it.

“I feel really fortunate that we had him for the time that we did,” Gibbon said.

“He was always consistent, relaible, cool under pressure,” Gibbon added. “I really appreciated … (the) integrity and character that he brought to our team.”

The person chosen to fill the role of assistant superintendent on a more permanent basis, Steven King, has received Brandsma’s seal of approval.

“I think he not only has the background and experience, he also has been involved in a quality program, which I think is going to add to the success,” Brandsma said.

“In essence, I think they did really well.”

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