Tanis Knight and Ina Evers-Martin have a combined total of 52 years with the Camas School District.
They both came to work for CSD in 1984; Knight as the principal at Helen Baller Elementary and Evers-Martin as the district’s business manager. Knight, 57, is now the assistant superintendent, heading up curriculum and instruction. Evers-Martin, 62, remains as the business manager.
At the end of June, each will end their long careers in CSD and begin a new chapter in their lives.
The Post-Record recently sat down with Evers-Martin and Knight, who are friends as well as co-workers, and listened to their thoughts on working in Camas, life after retirement and stand-out moments in their careers. The answers below have been edited for clarity and length.
Why are you retiring now?
Knight: To me, it seemed like a logical time. My husband is semi-retired and we both want to travel; and I want to do some work in the non-profit sector.
Evers-Martin: Pretty much the same reasons as Tanis. My husband just turned 70, so if we’re going to travel, now’s the time.
Where do you plan to travel?
Knight: Both of my daughters live on the East Coast, so I’m sure we’ll go there and explore the area. I also want to go to Europe.
Evers-Martin: We have family who lives in Europe, so we’ll spend a lot of time there.
What will you miss most about the job? What will you miss least?
Knight: I think we’ll both miss the wonderful people we work with. The caliber of our administrators and teachers are the top of the line, in terms of what they do for kids and their qualities as individuals. What I will not miss is the very difficult realities and decisions imposed by the current economic downturn. It just breaks your heart.
Evers-Martin: I feel the same way as Tanis. I will really miss the people and all the relationships I’ve developed over the years. However, the last three years have been very difficult because of the budget cuts. I take no pleasure in recommending cuts, and will not miss that part of the job.
Has anyone been hired yet to fill your positions?
Knight: For a cost savings measure, my job will be left vacant for a year. There will be different people doing different tasks to cover the job.
Evers-Martin: We’ve hired Donna Gregg, who works on the construction side of finance at Education Service District 112.
Is there any advice you’d like to give your replacement?
Knight: For anyone, I hope they realize what a blessing it is to work here. I can’t imagine a better place to have spent a career.
Evers-Martin: I’ve given her lots of it already, but basically it comes down to sticking to the budget and being able to stand your ground.
What are your favorite memories from working for the CSD?
Knight: We have a phrase we jokingly use, “We’re living the dream at the Camas School District,” but it’s true. It’s been a wonderful place to work and raise kids.
Evers-Martin: I have the same thoughts here. I never imagined I’d be here this long, but it’s been such a great place to work.
What is your biggest overall accomplishment while at the CSD?
Knight: Seeing sustained improvement in student achievement over time.
Evers-Martin: The continuity of good fiscal practices and clean audits.
At a retirement party last week, district employees and a board member spoke with the Post-Record about Evers-Martin and Knight. Their responses have also been edited for clarity and length.
What kind of contributions have Evers-Martin and Knight made to the CSD? What will you miss most about them?
Lynette Marshall, superintendent’s administrative assistant: They are the greatest, even-keeled professional people I know. They are both so down to earth and do an amazing job. They’ll be very hard to replace.
Doreen Wilson, teacher on special assignment: It’s so hard for me to sum it up in a few sentences. I will miss them both personally and professionally. Their contributions to our district make us who we are. We will miss them very much.
Doug Quinn, school board member: They are both incredibly gifted, talented folks. With Ina, I’ve always valued the fiscal success. We’ve had clean audits for decades and this helps the community maintain a nice confidence in the district.
With Tanis, the kids in the district are high achievers. She really gets them going vertically in their education, and then stacks the bar horizontally. She is the one that filters out what are good tools to help children learn. She does a job that is exceptional. Her attention to rigor and building a system that gets kids to perform at a high level is the single most important job in the district.
Read the rest of the story in the June 15 issue of the Post-Record