Keating’s hiring excites White River School District

The White River School Board OK’d a three-year superintendent contract with Janel Keating.

“We’re excited,” Board President Denise Vogel said after the unanimous vote at the board’s Dec. 14 meeting. Vogel noted Keating, who has served as the district’s deputy superintendent for the past few years, would provide a seamless transition that will help the district continue its work.

Keating takes over the reins from Superintendent Tom Lockyer who will retire July 1.

In the contract, Keating is scheduled to earn $138,000 annually, comparable to leaders in districts of similar size, along with retirement, insurance and a monthly transportation reimbursement. Keating’s contract outlines vacation, sick and supplemental responsibility days and holidays.

“As a district, we have always tried to compensate employees somewhere in the middle of the pack for like-size districts,” the board noted in talking points from the contract. “We know that if we had to go out and look for a new superintendent, this amount is commensurate with what we would have needed to pay.”

Vogel said the board wasn’t interested in looking around when it had Keating right here and “knowing full well she’s receiving offers left and right.” The board was looking for a seamless transition so the progress the district has made could continue. It was not looking for the turmoil and expense of a superintendent search.

Vogel said her talks with administration and staff confirm the board’s decision.

“We have made great progress under the leadership of Tom and Janel and are excited to be able to continue with that progress,” she said.

The board also noted its expectations for the superintendent including fulfilling community obligations and professional memberships. She is past president of the Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

The contract, like Lockyer’s and her own previous agreement, allows Keating to continue to her work as a consultant and speaker.

Keating’s work with Professional Learning Communities has earned her and the White River School District national recognition and makes her a popular speaker and author on leadership and school improvement.

Vogel said the relationships Keating has with those outside sources benefit the district.

“It really ends up being a good thing for us,” Vogel said.

Keating earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Idaho, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Carroll College in Helena, Mont., and her superintendent’s certificate from Seattle Pacific University.

An elementary and middle school teacher, Keating began her career with the White River School District as principal at Mountain Meadow Elementary School, where she first put PLC concepts into practice. During her leadership, Mountain Meadow was recognized as one of the highest academically performing elementary schools in the state and Keating was honored as Principal of the Year.

District leadership tapped into her knowledge and made her part of its administrative team.

As part of the contract, Keating is subject to board evaluation every year.