Chimacum School Board picks former Port Townsend superintendent to lead school district

Posted 7/31/20

The Chimacum School Board unanimously agreed to hire David Engle as interim superintendent of the school district during a special meeting Thursday evening.

Engle, 71, retired in 2016 as Port …

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Chimacum School Board picks former Port Townsend superintendent to lead school district

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The Chimacum School Board unanimously agreed to hire David Engle as interim superintendent of the school district during a special meeting Thursday evening.

Engle, 71, retired in 2016 as Port Townsend’s Superintendent of Schools.

Earlier in his education career, he was principal at Interlake High School in Bellevue and Ballard High School in Seattle. Engle is also a founding member of the Port Townsend Cycle School and a past president of the Rotary Club of Port Townsend.

Though a search for a new superintendent for the Chimacum School District started many months ago, the need for an interim leader arose over the past two weeks after the school board put Superintendent Rick Thompson on paid administrative leave following a complaint he recently filed against the district that claimed he had been the target of "discriminatory harassment and defamation by school board members."

School Board Chair Kristina Mayer announced the complaint at the July 22 meeting and said it would be reviewed by an independent investigator. Thompson was placed on leave, she said, "in order to help promote witness participation in the investigation and alleviate any concern of undue influence

At Thursday's special board meeting, held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayer opened the meeting and it quickly went into a private executive session to discuss "personnel" matters.

After roughly 35 minutes, the meeting was restarted in public and the board quickly voted to install Engle.

School Board Member Mickey Nagy proposed Engle be selected as interim district superintendent, pending a final background check and successful negotiations on an employment contract.

The motion passed on a 4-0 vote without debate. (The school board is down to four members following the resignation earlier this month of Jack McKay.)

Nearly 40 people participated in the videoconference meeting.

"Thank you to everyone who showed up tonight," Mayer said at the close of the meeting.

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