After months of searching, the Tahoma School Board of Directors voted on a superintendent. The vote took place during the regular board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The board chose former Shadow Lake Elementary School Principal Mike Hanson to serve as the interim superintendent.
“Through hours of thoughtful discussion, deliberation among ourselves and in consultation with district administrators, we thoroughly evaluated Mr. Hanson and each of us is confident that he meets our hiring criteria,” a letter from the school board stated. “We believe he is the individual best suited to lead the Tahoma School District. Mr. Hanson’s skills, experience and deep knowledge of the district will serve our community well as he transitions to Tahoma’s top leadership position. The board appreciates his ability to identify best practices for student learning and then take action to implement positive changes.”
Hanson will begin as the superintendent on July 1 but will begin working in his current role at the Central Services Center to help ease the transition.
Teachers, co-workers, former students, family and friends filled the meeting room on Tuesday to support Hanson while the board deliberated.
The vote came as a bit of a surprise to some Tahoma families since there have not been many public meetings about the superintendent search. Board President Tami Henkel said during Tuesday’s meeting that many discussions about Hanson took place during executive sessions since Hanson is a current employee of the district.
The search for a superintendent has taken up most of the school year with Assistant Superintendent Lori Cloud working as acting superintendent. In September Superintendent Tony Giurado resigned. Giurado’s contract was set to end in 2021, and a legal agreement between Giurado and the school district allowed Giurado to collect his salary each month, along with insurance premiums for him and his family, and retirement benefits until 2021 or until Giurado obtained another, similar position.
Boardmember Malia Hollowell has known Hanson from her days as the Parent-Teacher Association President for Shadow Lake Elementary.
“This is a great day for Tahoma and, even more important than that, it’s a great day for our kids,” Hollowell said at Tuesday’s meeting. “As the top leader in our district, Mike will be responsible for working closely with our administration, faculty and staff to ensure that every child is at the center of decisions. I am overjoyed that our entire Tahoma community will now benefit from Mike’s leadership and extraordinary commitment to student success.”
A number of people also spoke during public comment to thank the board for selecting Hanson, including Maple Valley Mayor Sean P. Kelly, community member Steve Bodwell, Tahoma High School teacher and District Health and Fitness Content Specialist Tracy Krause, parent and PTA Roundtable President Laura Meyers, VOTE (Voice of Tahoma Education) co-chairs Angela Stewart and Grifan Cayce, and Tahoma High School Associate Principal Chris Feist.