Orondo School District selects new superintendent

By Darlene Paterson
Empire Press Correspondent

The Orondo School Board began seeking a new superintendent following the announcement that Superintendent/Principal Millie Watkins planned to retire at the end of the 2016-17 school year.

Due to elementary school growth and the addition of eighth grade to the middle school, the board decided to divide the position and hire a part-time superintendent, a full-time principal and part-time assistant principal.

Lance Young, current assistant principal at the school, was chosen to step into the role of principal and Alicia Lopez was appointed assistant principal.

On May 16, the board and community met with two candidates — Michelle Curry, employed by the state of Washington as a leadership coach for struggling school districts; and Dr. Ismael Vivanco, superintendent of Entiat and Palisades school districts.

The evening included a special closed executive session with the school board and an opportunity for the candidates to meet with staff and community members. The meeting provided a chance for them to ask questions and provide written feedback to the board.

Lance Young introduced the candidates and Yuridia Parra, a para-educator at the school, served as interpreter for the bilingual event. Young introduced each candidate and, in turn, they shared information about their background and experience.

Curry, as the first candidate, presented a brief bio that included her past and current employment. Vivanco then explained his interest in the position as well as his goals for the school.

Dr. Ismael Vivanco (Provided photo)

Both candidates addressed their visions for Orondo School, ideas for cultivating community involvement, experiences with budgeting, fundraising, transportation and future projects.

Following the meeting, community members were asked to fill out questionnaires about each candidate that were turned over to the school board.

After careful consideration and discussion, the school board offered the part-time position of superintendent to Vivanco.

Vivanco grew up in Burlington and graduated from high school there. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University, master’s degree from Heritage University and doctorate in education from Washington State University.

He previously served as a curriculum generalist for the state Migrant Education Program at North Central Educational Service District and later as associate executive director of academic achievement at the NCESD. More recently he has served as superintendent of the Entiat and Palisades school districts.

He is a past president of the Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and North Central regional president of the Washington Association of School Administrators.

Vivanco served as guest facilitator for the first Orondo Community Town Hall meeting last November and plans to continue this collaboration with the Orondo community. He is looking forward to working with the team of excellent educators at Orondo School.

Vivanco will continue as part-time superintendent of Palisades School District and he will assume his part-time duties as superintendent in Orondo on July 1.