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EV interim superintendent began career in district

Tom Gresch is the interim superintendent of the East Valley School District. (Lisa Leinberger)
Tom Gresch is the interim superintendent of the East Valley School District. (Lisa Leinberger)

Tom Gresch has a long history with the East Valley School District.

Now, he’s serving as interim superintendent through the end of the school year. The school board approved his contract Tuesday after John Glenewinkel’s departure.

“This is just one more chapter in the connection to East Valley,” he said.

He moved to Otis Orchards as a child in 1973. Kindergarten and first grade were spent in the old Otis High School, and second grade was in the Otis portables. He also attended Trentwood, East Valley Junior High and graduated from East Valley High School in 1988.

After college, he returned to the district as a student teacher, eventually ending up at East Valley Middle School where he taught reading, English, social studies, a little bit of math and some special education.

He earned his principal credentials and spent time as an assistant principal at Lewis and Clark High School and later as a principal at Shadle Park and Cheney high schools.

This is his second year back at East Valley. He came on as human resources director and last summer became assistant superintendent of general services.

After his interim contract was approved by the school board Tuesday, Gresch, 44, said his experiences in the district have been wonderful, noting his peers, educators, community members and students.

“This isn’t how I envisioned becoming a superintendent,” he said. “I have a great respect for the folks that have helped me get here, including Dr. Glenewinkel giving me opportunities.”

Gresch said he understands the challenges that are ahead of him and East Valley in the coming months. The board has yet to make a decision regarding the K-8 configuration that has been fully in place since September and are continuing to discuss the issue in open forums.

He said he has no idea what the board has planned, but has a feeling there will be some change in the future.

“My gut tells me there is going to be some type of configuration change, but what that’s going to look like, how that’s going to work, there’s no easy answer to that,” he said. “The board is at a point where they need to come to some decision of what to do with this. My hope is that people come together and we have a decision made and we work as best we can together to go on from here.”

One issue that has been at the forefront of the conversation with the community and district is communication. Over the past several months East Valley officials have been working to change the way they communicate with the public.

“One of the first steps we’ve done is we’ve revamped our main communication tool, our website,” Gresch said. They are still working out a few glitches, and he hopes by the beginning of next school year the site will be expanded and running at all school locations.

They’ve also hired a consultant, David Camp of Camp Creative, to help.

“We haven’t done a great job of embracing the connection of social media and our daily work,” he said. “You’ll see our Facebook page will now be more active, it’s been inactive for several years. Now, any type of announcements will go on there, and we’re hoping that more parents, if that’s the way they like to get their information, will be able to do that.”

The job for a permanent superintendent has not been advertised yet, and Gresch’s contract with the district as interim will expire at the end of the school year, with the opportunity for him to return as assistant superintendent. He isn’t sure what kind of search the board will do, but recognizes the importance of the board having an opportunity to look for its next leader.

“Of course, why wouldn’t I want to be the next superintendent here? At the same time, I am an individual with certain talents. They may need somebody with other talents,” Gresch said. “If I can continue to serve as the assistant superintendent I would be thrilled. My hope is someday I’m a superintendent. It would be great to do that in my home district.”