Sequim schools superintendent Dr. Rob Clark is on paid leave pending the outcome of a complaint, Sequim School District officials said Thursday afternoon, Oct. 22.
Sequim School Board president Brandino Gibson declined to give further details about the complaint or the party/parties involved.
“This was a legal action that was taken to protect all the parties,” he said in a Thursday interview.
School district staff and school board directors have been notified as well, district officials said.
He urged staff to “refrain from speculation regarding the details surrounding this decision.”
Gibson wrote, “As the Superintendent, Dr. Clark is deserving of respect, not rumor. This action is for the protection of all parties involved.”
On Thursday, Gibson said staff were evaluating who would be leading day-to-day operations, noting “The Sequim School District will continue to lean on the leadership of the district’s cabinet who will keep Sequim School District moving forward on mission.”
On Friday, Gibson said Jane Pryne, former Port Angeles School District superintendent, would step in to Clark’s role for the interim.
Her first day will be Monday, Oct. 26.
Gibson said Sequim staff sought advice from Olympic Educational Service District 114 staff for interim recommendations.
“(Pryne’s) been doing recent work with districts; she’s local, understands the local community, (and) has lots of prior experience,” he said.
Pryne was one of two candidates for the Sequim School District’s superintendent position in 2019.
“She was a good tough candidate (then),” Gibson said. “In the end we were fortunate she was available.
This is not a knock on our staff; there’s a lot of lifting lot of work to do,” Gibson said. “Missing Dr. Clark, that’s a missing piece to the puzzle.”
Clark is in his second year as superintendent in Sequim after being hired in July 2019.
He most recently worked as superintendent of the Milton-Freewater School District, just south of Walla Walla across the Washington-Oregon state line, a job he held since 2013.
He has also served as a superintendent in Washington state school districts, including the Quilcene School District,the Cascade School District in Leavenworth and the Rearden-Edwall and Washtucna school districts in Eastern Washington.
Clark succeeded Gary Neal, selected over former Port Angeles schools superintendent Pryne in the summer of 2019.
He is the second Sequim School District administrator this school year to go on leave after Shelley Jefferson, Helen Haller Elementary assistant principal, went on leave this summer. An investigation remains open with the Lummi Nation Police Department as to allegations she and her husband Francis allegedly abused an unnamed foster child.
This story is developing; check back at the Sequim Gazette website for updates.