District names interim superintendent

School board members unanimously voted for Karst Brandsma

The Oak Harbor school board chose a familiar face to be the school district’s interim superintendent for the next school year.

School board members unanimously voted for Karst Brandsma for the interim position Wednesday after Superintendent Lance Gibbon leaves this summer for Snoqualmie Valley School District. Brandsma served as interim assistant superintendent when Gibbon was appointed to the top job in 2013; Gibbon had previously been the school district’s assistant superintendent.

Brandsma’s familiarity with the staff and the school district was one of the reasons they chose him, Board President John Diamond said.

“He’s familiar with our area, and he is familiar with some of our staff and they are with him,” Diamond said.

“After speaking with him, he was available and he is a good fit, and he was very interested in doing it because of his love for Oak Harbor.”

Brandsma began his career in public education as a high school physics and chemistry teacher and football coach in Tumwater for 13 years before switching to an administrator role at school districts in Puget Sound.

Brandsma was the deputy superintendent of Everett Public Schools from 2001-08 and later became interim superintendent for the 2008-09 school year.

After he retired in 2009, Brandsma went on to serve interim assistant superintendent and superintendent roles in five more school districts.

Brandsma was most recently at the South Kitsap School District as interim superintendent for three years after having his contract extended twice.

Brandsma has also helped multiple school districts pass bonds, including Oak Harbor.

The school district is planning to ask voters for a bond to build five new schools and a transportation center in 2022.

Diamond said the school board will begin looking for a permanent superintendent in the fall to start in the 2022-2023 school year.

Brandsma’s contract will begin by July 1.

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