Sequim Superintendent finalist: Patrick Kelly Shea

Patrick Kelly Shea says his drive to become a superintendent of a public school district has been in the works for the better part of seven years.

On Monday, March 19, Shea — who goes by his middle name, Kelly — got his chance to further convince Sequim school board directors and community members at an all-day, superintendent finalist visit.

Shea is executive director of Human Services with the Mead School District. He has five years of school district administrative experience after nine years working as a principal or assistant principal.

Shea was an elementary school teacher in Spokane schools for 11 years. He worked as an elementary school principal for the Mead (1998-2004) and Central Valley (2004-07) school districts before his current job as executive director of human services.

As a youth, Shea worked for three summers in a row on his uncle’s farm in Sequim. Among his jobs were replacing irrigation ditch pipes. He even got his driver’s license in Sequim and learned to golf at what was then the Dungeness Golf Course (now The Cedars at Dungeness).

“It’s really about a family decision,” Shea said. “Both my kids are heading off to college next year. My wife and I can do anything we want to do. My wife wants to be near the ocean and I’m partial to the mountains. Sequim’s got the best of both worlds.”

Shea, one of four finalists to make all-day visits to Sequim this week, said he did plenty of research about Sequim’s school district, noticing both the district’s strengths and areas of possible growth.

“I see great potential,” he said.

Shea stressed that school districts should be open to creative, inventive students to help direct what the district should be teaching.

"We have top open up our minds: It's not what we think it takes for kids to be successful, it's what they think it takes to be successful," he said.

Shea’s own educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Whitworth University in 1986, a Master of Arts degree in teaching reading from Whitworth in 1994, a P-9 Principal Certification from Whitworth in 1998 and his Washington state superintendent certification from Washington State University in 2008.

"I enjoy being a leader," Shea said. "At this point, it's become a superintendent or go back and be an elementary school principal."

Mead district boundaries include the northeast section of Spokane and outlying communities. The district’s 575 teachers serve about 9,500 students in 12 buildings.
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