(UPDATED, 1:30 p.m., with comments from Hummel.)
Outgoing Superintendent Jay Hummel says his Kuna School District staff and faculty have done a “Herculean” task of focusing on academic growth during tough financial times.
But he says a job at the helm of the Ashland, Ore., School District provides him a chance to move back to a state that provides more focused support to its school system.
“Idaho continues to struggle, has continued to struggle, to provide stability to its K-12 education system,” Hummel said Thursday afternoon.
Stability is not only a matter of funding, he said — although stable funding leads to lower staff turnover and less upheaval for students. It’s also a matter of providing stable focus. Hummel cited an alternative school in Ashland, a K-8 school that homechooling families helped design. The school’s programs have remained relatively intact for its 17-year existence, with the same principal in charge from Day One. “The results are predictably high.”
Hummel, who had led Kuna schools for the past eight years, will start at the Ashland district on July 1.
He was chosen from a field of 19 applicants. “Jay is a well-rounded educational leader who will help us provide the best education for our children and move Ashland public schools forward,” board chairwoman Carol Davis said in a news release.
The Ashland School District, located in southwest Oregon, has an enrollment of nearly 3,000. Kuna, with a fall 2012 enrollment of 5,073, has been one of the state’s fastest-growing school districts, adding more than 1,000 students during Hummel’s tenure as superintendent.
Hummel says his assistant superintendent, Wendy Johnson, is his likely successor. At a meeting Tuesday, Kuna School Board members said they wanted to explore promoting Johnson. The board will interview Johnson for the post during an open session Monday night.
Hummel is the second district superintendent to leave Idaho for an out-of-state job this month.
Coeur d’Alene School Superintendent Hazel Bauman is leaving for western Washington to take an interim superintendent’s job at the Central Kitsap School District. Associate Superintendent Matthew Handelman will take over on an interim basis, starting July 1.