Superintendent of Oak Harbor Public Schools Lance Gibbon is leaving the school district after serving as its leader for the past eight years.
The Snoqualmie Valley School Board offered Gibbon the top job during a meeting Wednesday night. Gibbon was one of two finalists for the position, edging out Deputy Superintendent for Everett Public Schools Peter Scott.
Gibbon announced he had been selected for the position in an email Thursday morning.
“While I am excited about the new opportunities that lie ahead for me, it is incredibly difficult to leave behind the wonderful relationships I’ve built here and the work we’ve done together during the past 14 years,” he wrote.
Gibbon gave advance notice to the Oak Harbor school community last Friday, March 26, that he was a finalist for the position. In it, he explained that he and his wife were empty nesters now that their two sons had graduated from high school and they wanted to move closer to family.
Gibbon began his 29-year public education career as an elementary school music teacher. Before becoming the leader of Oak Harbor schools in 2013, Gibbon served as an assistant superintendent for the school district for six years. He has also been an elementary school principal and teacher in several school districts in Western Washington.
John Diamond, president of the Oak Harbor School Board, emailed everyone at the Oak Harbor Public Schools team Thursday afternoon congratulating Gibbon.
“Our district’s long list of accomplishments reflects the work of someone who has promoted a clear vision for our students and community,” Diamond wrote.
“He was a cheerleader and champion for student and staff success. It’s bittersweet to see him being named the next superintendent of Snoqualmie Valley, and he will leave large shoes to fill. We recognize the unique opportunity that Snoqualmie presents him and that he will be closer to family.”
During his tenure in Oak Harbor, Gibbon saw graduation rates and test scores increase, student enrollment soar, multiple levies pass and the doors open to a remodeled Oak Harbor High School. He won the Best of Whidbey “best community leader” award twice.
Oak Harbor was also the largest school district in Western Washington to reopen this past fall with some in-person instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Gibbon will replace current superintendent, Robert Manahan, who has served in the role since May 2018, the Snoqualmie Valley Record reported. He announced that he will retire this summer after a 37-year career in public education.
The Snoqualmie Valley School District is larger than the Oak Harbor school district by 1,000 students, with approximately 7,000 students.
Manahan was paid $289,839 during the 2019-2020 school year, according to data from the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Gibbon was paid $244,919 in the same school year, according to the same database. The school district said in an advertisement for the position that it expected to pay around $290,000 in compensation, depending on experience.
The Snoqualmie Valley School Board and Gibbon have not yet finalized an employment contract and will have an update at the next school board meeting. Gibbon will start the job on July 1.
Diamond said Thursday afternoon during a special meeting that the school board would be moving quickly to start searching for Gibbon’s replacement.