Jarvis resigns to take Seattle position

replacement during search

By Brenda Sexton-The Courier-Herald

Big announcements and big changes came out of the Enumclaw School District as Superintendent Art Jarvis made known his plans to leave the district sooner than originally planned and Assistant Superintendent Mike Nelson was charged with filling the vacancy his departure will create.

It was a year ago, Jarvis announced to the Enumclaw School Board he would be leaving the position with the understanding that he would stay through June 2007. At the board's regular meeting Dec. 18, Jarvis announced he has been tabbed for the Chief Financial Officer position with Seattle Public Schools and tendered his resignation.

His last day in Enumclaw is Jan. 12.

Wednesday, during a special meeting, the school board elevated Nelson to the head position. School board President Dale Holland said Nelson's appointment to the post during the interim would provide the continuity and confidence the board and community have come to expect from the district.

Nelson will fill the superintendent role, Holland said, while the board continues its search for a permanent replacement.

The school board has been working on finding Jarvis' replacement and will continue that search as planned, Holland said. Applications are due Jan. 15. Search consultant Dennis Ray of Northwest Leadership Associates said interest in the position has been positive.

“Until then, it is our belief Mike will do an excellent job,” Holland said.

Nelson said he is excited and looks forward to the opportunity and responsibility to lead the district in conjunction with the district's cabinet and principals.

Nelson, who was born and raised in Enumclaw, has served as the district's assistant superintendent since 1999. Prior to that he was Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for the Federal Way School District. He started his career in 1985 as a teacher in the Orting School District. He has also served as an assistant principal for the Sumner School District and a principal in Federal Way.

In his letter to the board, Jarvis said the schools will easily handle the interim period after his departure.

“The administrative cabinet is exceptionally well positioned to oversee and coordinate district operations and activities until the new superintendent is selected and able to begin his or her duties. Equally important, the curriculum and instruction programs throughout the district will continue without interruption.”

Jarvis, who was selected Washington State Superintendent of the Year in 2005 by the Washington Association of School Administrators, has been Enumclaw's superintendent since 1996. He has spent more than 40 years in education, 25 years in the Enumclaw community as teacher, administrator and superintendent. For the past few years, Jarvis has been on an annual retire-rehire contract with the district. His contract was renewed for this school year with a 3-2 vote of the board around midyear.

“I truly could not be more proud of what we've accomplished and where we are at this time,” Jarvis said of the district.

“Thank you for your service to the students of Enumclaw and Black Diamond. It's been an honor and a privilege,” Holland said at the meeting.

Board member Nancy Merrill talked of her gratitude to Jarvis and cited his skills at pulling people together - recalling how shortly after his arrival the district passed a bond issue after several previous failures.

Seattle Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Mark Green said his district is fortunate to attract Jarvis.

“Dr. Jarvis has built a reputation for personal and professional integrity and sound financial management,” Green stated in a press release. “These qualities will help ensure that Seattle Public Schools continues to operate in and strengthen the culture of open, transparent, and conservative financial management that has enabled the district to rebuild its reserves over the past several years. In addition, Dr. Jarvis brings a deep understanding of learning and teaching, and of how to effectively align resources to support student success.”

The district is planning an open house for Jarvis from 3 to 6 p.m. Jan. 8 in the Enumclaw High library.

Brenda Sexton can be reached at

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