Coeur d’Alene School District Superintendent Hazel Bauman will leave at the end of June to take the job of interim superintendent of a school district in Western Washington.
Bauman announced Wednesday night she accepted an offer to lead the Central Kitsap School District for one year. With about 10,600 students, the Central Kitsap district is slightly larger than the Coeur d’Alene district.
Bauman, 60, has worked for the Coeur d’Alene district 29 years and has been superintendent for nearly five years.
Many in the community are speculating that her departure stems from friction with a conservative school board that has filled all five trustee seats in the past two years. But Bauman said 95 percent of her motivation to move on is personal, not professional. She said she has family members in the Seattle area.
Bauman described her relationship with the Coeur d’Alene board as solid. “I’ve not always agreed with things the school board has done, but we have had a professional and respectful relationship,” she said Wednesday night.
School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton said he is disappointed the district will lose Bauman, whom he described as a “courageous, innovative woman.”
In a prepared statement, Hamilton also said Bauman “is a visionary and has exemplified a high level of dedicated service to the (district’s) students and stakeholders.”
The board will meet Friday at noon to talk about the transition, including a plan to appoint an interim superintendent. Hamilton said be believes the search for a permanent replacement “needs to be a measured and careful process.”
“I’m not going to be in a hurry,” he said.
The board recently renewed Bauman’s three-year contract. She said she was intrigued by the one-year deal with the Central Kitsap district because of the “opportunity for both parties to do a little test drive.”
She also said she and her husband look forward to returning to Coeur d’Alene to retire one day.
“Coeur d’Alene is an amazing place,” she said. “It seems to me it has all the elements: It’s a beautiful place to live, it has a wonderful array of community people who step up to the plate to help in all areas. It has been my privilege to work here.”
Bauman began her career in Canada and spent five years as a teacher. The bulk of her experience is in curriculum development and training teachers.
She will replace Greg Lynch, who resigned from the Central Kitsap district to take the superintendent position at the Olympic Educational Service District 114.