School Board names Larry Nyland as interim superintendent
The Seattle School Board chose a Seattle native and longtime educator for the top post while it searches for a permanent superintendent.
Seattle Times education reporter
Longtime area educator Larry Nyland will lead Seattle Public Schools for the next year while the School Board searches for a permanent superintendent.
The board made the interim appointment Friday at a special meeting with a unanimous vote.
Nyland, 66, retired in 2013 from the top job in the Marysville School District after nine years.
He will take over the Seattle district Aug. 1, succeeding José Banda, who was hired to lead the Sacramento City Unified School District. Nyland will serve through June 2015.
“My role is to listen, learn and lead,” said Nyland, a 1966 graduate of Roosevelt High School who was born and raised in Seattle.
He said he will spend about a month meeting the district’s various constituents to get the lay of the land and then come back to the board early in the school year to ask members which parts of the five-year strategic plan he should tackle first.
Nyland was named state Superintendent of the Year in 2006 by the Washington Association of School Administrators and was one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year.
He is credited with restoring confidence in the Marysville district after a teacher strike in 2003 and helped to pass the district’s first school-construction bond in 16 years.
After retiring, he spent the past school year working as a consultant on superintendent evaluations and other leadership issues in several districts, including Seattle.
After Superintendent Banda announced June 20 that he was the sole finalist to lead the Sacramento district, the Seattle School Board met several times behind closed doors to discuss interim candidates.
Banda was officially hired Thursday, but the Seattle board has not yet received a formal resignation letter. The board will negotiate a contract with Nyland, which must be ratified at its next regular meeting Aug. 20.
Board President Sharon Peaslee said the search for a permanent superintendent will begin in September and likely culminate with a decision in April or May.
The last time around, the board hired a recruiting firm and spent $85,000 on the search that brought Banda to Seattle two years ago.
Peaslee said the board hasn’t yet decided whether to hire a firm this time.
Nyland could also apply for the permanent job, but he said Friday it was way too soon for him to declare such an intention.
In recent years, interim jobs have gone to senior district leaders, who often, but not always, have won the permanent gig.
In 1998, Joseph Olchefske, the district’s chief financial officer, was named to the top job after Superintendent John Stanford died of leukemia.
The School Board made Olchefske’s appointment permanent in 1999.
Olchefske resigned in 2003, amid a $33 million budget crisis, and Raj Manhas, the district’s chief operating officer, agreed to step in as interim.
That fall, after four finalists for the superintendent’s job dropped out, the board gave Manhas a one-year contract and then extended it three years.
In October 2006, amid a heated school-closures fight, Manhas announced he would resign in 2007 at the end of the school year.
That gave the board the chance to hire his replacement, Maria Goodloe-Johnson, without having to appoint an interim.
The board fired Goodloe-Johnson in March 2011, amid financial scandal, and named Susan Enfield, the district’s chief academic officer, interim superintendent.
At the end of that year, Enfield announced she would stay through the end of her contract but not seek the permanent job.
The board then hired Banda in 2012.