Washougal schools superintendent announces plans for retirement

Baldwin will make formal announcement at School Board meeting tonight

Washougal School District Superintendent Teresa Baldwin has announced her retirement.

Baldwin, 63, will make it official at the School Board meeting tonight.

Her retirement will become effective in July.

“Washougal has been the most wonderful place for this phase in my career,” she said.

Baldwin began working in the district in 2005 as assistant superintendent to then-Superintendent Bob Donaldson.

After he announced his retirement, she applied for the top job and was hired in May 2005, edging out 17 other applicants. She began working in her new position that August.

“Looking back to 2005 when I first came to the district as the assistant superintendent, I was so impressed with the accomplishments of [Donaldson].” she said. “Donaldson’s legacy was bringing staff and community together around the vision for bright, new school facilities through momentous support for a bond measure. That was the highest priority, and that legacy laid the groundwork for other system-wide improvements.”

When asked why she was retiring now, Baldwin said part of the reason was timing.

“The conventional wisdom among superintendents is that the best time to leave a district is when the superintendent’s leadership for improvement has produced results and the system is stable and ready for new leadership and further organizational enhancement,” she said. “In my view, the Washougal School District is perfectly positioned for organizational improvement under the leadership of a new superintendent.”

This month marks Baldwin’s 40th year in public education. She began her career working for nine years as a teacher in the Snohomish School District near Seattle, then served as a school administrator in the Evergreen and Battle Ground school districts for 16 years.

Baldwin also spent about 20 months on a special project with the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction before taking a position with the Evergreen School District from 2000 to 2005, where she served as the director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as elementary and secondary education.

She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash.; and a master’s degree in education from the University of California in Los Angeles.

The School Board will discuss the pending superintendent search at tonight’s meeting. The general plan is to work with Education Service District 112, and start the process with a survey.

Baldwin added that as more information is available regarding the time lines and the process, it will be posted on the district website at www.washougal.k12.wa.us.

“It is important to note that the board of directors is committed to involving staff and community members in the process,” she said.

When asked about her post-retirement plans, Baldwin said she will continue to live in Clark County with her husband while he works as a high school counselor for the Evergreen School District.

Baldwin added that there is plenty to be done in the next several months.

“There is still important work ahead of us,” she said. “I look forward to finishing strong and making Washougal the best educational system possible on my watch. I appreciate working with a dedicated staff, certified, classified and administrative professionals who are equally committed to our mission of educating the children of Washougal. I feel fortunate to be superintendent for the remainder of the school year, and I will leave this position with warm feelings in my heart for the staff and community.”

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