The Haines School District is close to hiring a new interim superintendent, starting August 3rd for a six-month time period.
In an executive session today, the school board negotiated and agreed on a contract with Rich Carlson — a retired educator living in Juneau.
“I thought I was going to be retired a year and a half ago and here I am. But yeah, I like what I’m doing. Education’s been my life,” Carlson said.
Carlson retired in January 2014 after serving as superintendent in Klawock for a dozen years. Seven months after retiring, he stepped in to help Cordova School District after their superintendent quit a few weeks before the start of school. Carlson was interim superintendent in Cordova for a year.
Now, Haines is in a similar situation. Former Haines superintendent Ginger Jewell unexpectedly quit in June, just one year into her three-year contract. She accepted a job in Georgia, closer to her family.
“You know this was not something I was out looking for,” Carlson said. “But it is a situation in which Haines has found themselves in an awkward situation, and I can help out, so it’s a win-win.”
Before Carlson’s hire is finalized, the district needs to get approval from the Alaska Department of Administration Division of Retirement and Benefits. Since Carlson is currently retired, special permission needs to be given in order for him to take on the superintendent job.
While Carlson serves as interim superintendent, the school district will conduct a search for a permanent hire.
Carlson traveled to Haines last week to meet with school board members and staff. After talking with him, the board set up a special meeting today to discuss next steps. At the meeting, they unanimously voted to negotiate a contract with Carlson.
Carlson’s family lives in Juneau. He said being a 30-minute flight away from them made a difference in his decision to accept the job. He says meeting the school board and school staff also helped.
“The people that I met really sold it for me. And I took a tour of the school and it’s a really nice school. So it was sort of just a very good situation.”
Carlson says the most challenging part about being interim superintendent in Cordova was living in six different places while he was there. He hopes to find more stable accommodations in Haines. Carlson says right now, his contract is set for the beginning of this August to the beginning of February 2016.