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Spokane school district Superintendent Redinger resigns to take Richland position

June 23, 2020 Updated Tue., June 23, 2020 at 11:30 p.m.

Spokane Public Schools superintendent Shelley Redinger speaks April 11, 2019, in the district's downtown offices. She announced Tuesday her plan to leave her position for the same job in Richland.  (DAN PELLE)
Spokane Public Schools superintendent Shelley Redinger speaks April 11, 2019, in the district's downtown offices. She announced Tuesday her plan to leave her position for the same job in Richland. (DAN PELLE)

After eight years as superintendent of Spokane Public Schools, Shelley Redinger is resigning to take a similar position in Richland, both districts announced late Tuesday night.

“It’s just a really good opportunity for our family,” said Redinger, whose husband Darin is a nuclear engineer.

Redinger will take over in Richland on Aug. 1, replacing the retiring Rick Schulte.

Meanwhile, Spokane must scramble to find a replacement during midsummer.

“The school board will be evaluating options for moving ahead with a replacement for Dr. Redinger,” school board president Jerrall Haynes said in a statement Tuesday night.

“In the coming days the School Board will have thoughtful and proactive conversations to secure a quality leader to fill the role of superintendent for Spokane Public Schools,” Haynes said.

Those conversations will begin immediately.

Earlier on Tuesday, the school board revised its agenda for Wednesday night. Instead of hearing a presentation on designs for two new middle schools, board members will meet in a closed-door executive session at 5:30 p.m.

Redinger’s current three-year contract expires on June 30, but she agreed to stay through July “so the board can think about their next steps,” she said.

“I am grateful to the team at Spokane Public Schools and to the Spokane community for the collaboration and support I have experienced here,” Redinger said.

Looking back on eight years in Spokane, Redinger said she was most proud of the passage of the $495 million capital bond in 2018 as well as the community’s consistent support of levies.

Redinger also cited the district’s progress “in providing more options and choices for families,” she said.

Speaking for the board, Haynes said that “While we are sad to see Shelley go, we appreciate everything she has done to help SPS progress and position the district for even greater success in the future. “

“She is leaving the district in a better place than when she came here, and we will forever be grateful,” Haynes said.

The move sends Redinger back to the area where she began her teaching career. She taught at Jefferson Elementary in Richland and Park Middle School in Kennewick and also held several administrative positions in the Tri-Cities.

It’s been an eventful and challenging year for Redinger, a Spokane native who has been in charge of the 31,000-student district since 2012.

Earlier this year, Redinger had applied for superintendent’s positions in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Nashville.

Redinger was one of three finalists in Scottsdale, but withdrew from consideration on Feb. 21, saying she and her husband decided the fit wasn’t “good enough for us to leave Spokane.”

A few weeks later, she was one of five semifinalists in Nashville. However, the day after her interview, the city was hit by a devastating tornado. Combined with the coronavirus, that led the board to promote its interim superintendent.

The hiring of Redinger also caps an eventful spring in Richland. On June 5, incoming superintendent Mark Davidson announced he would withdraw his acceptance of the position.

Davidson, who was chosen in March, was the second replacement for current chief Schulte, who plans to retire on June 30.

With 12,100 students , the Richland School District is about one-third the size of Spokane Public Schools.

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