Superintendent gets glowing review, 3.3 percent raise

The Oak Harbor School Board approved a 3.3-percent pay raise for Superintendent Lance Gibbon on the heels of a glowing evaluation.

The Oak Harbor School Board approved a 3.3-percent pay raise for Superintendent Lance Gibbon on the heels of a glowing evaluation.

The three-year contract, effective July 1, raises his yearly base pay from $155,177 to $160,298. He also will receive an annual annuity of $12,823 and travel allowance of $375 a month.

“He provides us with short- and long-term goals during the evaluation process,” said School Board President Christine Abbott. “He is really following through on what he said he’d do.”

The board conducts a detailed evaluation of the superintendent once a year and grades him on the same scale as teachers. This year he received virtually all “distinguished” marks for his leadership — the highest grade possible.

In particular, school board members said they are impressed with the connections he’s forging in the community and work as a spokesman for the district at the state and federal levels, for instance, testifying at the State Board of Education and pushing for more federal impact aid.

The board rated him “proficient” when it came to working with them effectively.

The evaluation noted he could be “a little more diligent with superintendent-to-board communications.”

Since the superintendent was hired in 2013, graduations rates and state test scores are up. He’s leading a plan to deal with an expected swell of incoming Navy families with young children. Under his leadership, schools are getting upgrades even as the district faces an influx of pupils.

The school board president praised Gibbon for his commitment to the job. He’s a regular at school music performances, sports events and other activities.

“He’s ever present,” she said. “Some superintendents lock themselves behind a closed door. I imagine Dr. Gibbon can’t go to Safeway without being recognized.”

The board arrived at his pay raise after analyzing other Northwest school districts of similar size, Abbott said.

Oak Harbor School District has 5,673 students.

On the higher end, Arlington pays its superintendent $243,394. Yelm, with 5,570 students, pays its superintendent $158,254. Sedro-Woolley, with 4,371 students, pays $146,775.

The superintendent is receiving a smaller pay raise than Oak Harbor teachers. The board approved a two-year agreement for teachers raising pay 7.25 percent the first year and 4.5 percent the second.

The total 11.75 percent raise compensates certificated staff at a similar rate to teachers at South Whidbey and Coupeville School Districts.

Gibbon was hired after serving six years as Oak Harbor’s assistant superintendent. That same year in 2013, voters approved a $7.35 million levy that pays for teachers and support staff, technology upgrades, textbooks and more.

Gibbon is former principal of Fidalgo Elementary School in Anacortes and was a music teacher in the Lake Washington School District. He earned a doctorate in executive leadership and superintendent credentials from Seattle Pacific University.

Gibbon’s older son graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 2014 and his younger son will be a ninth grader at Oak Harbor High School next fall.