News

Sequim super steps down

by MICHAEL DASHIELL
Sequim Gazette

Bill Bentley, Sequim schools superintendent, announced last night his resignation from the district’s top administrative spot, effective June 30, 2012.

 

Sequim’s school board of directors unanimously accepted his resignation.

 

Bentley, entering his fifth school year as Sequim’s superintendent, said that while he feels there are some district projects left undone, he’s ready to step away from the position.

 

“I’m proud we’re stable, financially,” Bentley told board directors and meeting attendees Monday. “The thing I’m most proud of is the achievement of our kids.”

Karen Sande, district human resource specialist, said, “(Bill) always had student success at the forefront. We’re going to have a huge void to fill.”

 

The career educator also earned praise from his board members, including Sarah Bedinger, Sequim School Board director and a former board president.

 

“When Bill arrived, our district was in good condition, but these past few years have been … challenging for schools in Washington state,” Bedinger said. “Without him being as vigilant as he has been … we’d be in a different place. It’s a team effort but he is the leader of the team. I think that will be his greatest legacy.”

 

Sequim School Board president John Bridge, a retired teacher, worked with Bentley on a district facilities committee before joining the board two and a half years ago.

 

“He really helps me to be a good board member … (and) to know what the board can and can’t do legally. He keeps us focused on that,” Bridge said.

 

“He’s done a really good job keeping the district finances in order.”

 

“He said that this would be his last job,” she said Tuesday. “In the last month or so he’d been talking about it more.”

 

Bentley noted that he is not planning to retire, but to pursue other interests before officially retiring.

“I’m going to take a break for a while,” he said Tuesday. “I haven’t had extended time off in the summer since I started teaching. I’m looking forward to some time off.”

 

Bentley’s contract runs out at the end of June.

 

“We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and June 30,” he said.

Picked in 2007

In 2007, the Sequim school board selected Bentley from a finalist pool of three.

 

Bentley replaced Garn Christensen, now superintendent of the Eastmont School District in East Wenatchee.

 

“I think he’s brought some teamwork to the district that wasn’t there before,” Bedinger said. “There’s some cohesiveness in the district as well, in terms of our plans and pushing us to the next level.”

 

Prior to his Sequim position, Bentley was assistant superintendent of the Evergreen School District in Vancouver, Wash., the fifth largest of Washington’s nearly 300 school districts (25,000 students).

 

Bentley said he’s considering a number of opportunities, both professionally and personally, noting that he can’t imagine staying away from the classroom for long.

 

That likely means volunteering at his wife Lorna’s early childhood education classes in Port Townsend, he said.

 

“I’m not feeling I have to make a decision right away,” Bentley said.

 

He noted that he and his wife will continue to live in the area for the foreseeable future.

 

“The things you miss (leaving a job) are the people you work with,” he said.

 

Bentley said he’s most proud of three things: Sequim students achieving excellence in a number of areas, leaving the district financially solvent and helping solve some of the district’s long-standing facilities issues.

 

He called being a superintendent the best job in the education business.

 

“You have the opportunity to be involved with so many people on decisions that make a difference in the life of students.”

 

 

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