Eleven years on the Mead School Board taught Bill Yakeley when to leave.
Yakely, 52, stepped down last week, saying he didn’t want to become a stagnant “institution” on the board.
“When I came on, I wanted to be part of the solution,” said Yakely, whose 11-year board tenure is second only to Fern Oslind.
“I had the fear that if I stayed too long, I may be part of the problem. New people with new ideas … will only strengthen the district.”
Yakely’s resignation is the second for the Mead board in six months. Previous to John Riherd’s resignation in November, the board had not changed in eight years.
Superintendent Bill Mester is taking applications for the position. The deadline is May 14.
Yakely said he joined the board to be involved in his children’s schooling; his youngest child was starting high school when he was first elected in 1985.
During Yakely’s tenure, the Mead School District expanded rapidly as fingers of development crept north. Several elementary schools were opened; a second high school will open in September 1997.
Yakely was impressed with the change in management style during those years. In a shift indicative of the changing attitudes of public education, Yakely said administration is now much more “horizontal” than “vertical.”
“We have been trying to get parents involved in the decision-making process,” said Yakely.
One of only 155 veterinary oncologists in the U.S., Yakely has lived in Spokane since 1969. He plans to get more involved in local and regional missions through the Whitworth Presbyterian Church. He will help build a church in Pelican, Alaska, this summer.
He also plans to volunteer at Daybreak of Spokane, a chain of youth drug and alcohol treatment centers.
“It’s hard for me to leave,” said Yakely. “On the other hand, I am just feeling a nudging to move on.”