WSD hires new superintendent

Mike Stromme is an associate superintendent for Vancouver Public Schools

The Washougal School District has selected its new superintendent.

Michael Stromme, current Vancouver Public Schools Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, will succeed Dawn Tarzian.

“I look forward to building relationships with the talented district educators and enthusiastic school community partners I met over the past week,” he said. “Spending time with people is of great importance to me.”

Tarzian will retire at the end of the school year in June.

Elaine Pfeifer, WSD board vice president, noted that Stromme has all of the qualities the board and community were seeking in a new superintendent.

“Mike scored very high with the entire Board in all qualities identified by the community, staff and the Board as important for our new superintendent to possess,” she said. “He is a dynamic, professional leader with a passion for education. He has the experience to enhance the excellent work being done in the district and has demonstrated the expertise required to oversee the successful completion of the upcoming bond projects.

“The board believes Mike is a good fit for Washougal and that he will use his leadership skills and innovative thinking to further advance the goals of the district.”

In November 2014, Washougal voters passed a $57.69 million capital improvement bond that will address safety, student capacity and facilities needs.

Stromme, 50, previously served as the interim superintendent of the Green Mountain School District and associate superintendent and chief information officer for the Vancouver School District before assuming his current position. He has also served as an associate superintendent for Education Service District 112 in instructional services and technology, as well as a high school administrator and teacher.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business and marketing from Oregon State University, as well as a master’s degree in education from the University of Portland and a doctorate in education from Washington State University.

Stromme said he is impressed with the Washougal community.

“It is clear from meeting with the principals, staff and community members there is great passion and commitment to the children and families of the Washougal community,” he said. “I am impressed with their focus on student achievement and meeting the personal needs of each child. I look forward to living in the Washougal community and working with students, parents, highly engaged school partners, and a great team of professional educators.”

Stromme said he plans to spend a lot of time in the schools and community in his first year.

“This will support my work with the Washougal Board of Directors and staff in achieving the current student learning goals of the district and establishing the future goals for the educational programs to support the needs of all students and families,” he said. “Additionally this coming year, my focus will be on working closely with the district staff, community partners and contractors on the capital facilities projects. These projects will require a great amount of attention over the next several years.”

Stromme and his wife, Erin, plan to move to Washougal from Vancouver. He will begin his new job in Washougal July 1.

“It is important to us to be here and build relationships with our neighbors,” he said. “We see ourselves in the district for years to come.”

Stromme was selected from a final field which included three other candidates. They spent two days in Washougal last week, touring schools and participating in an open house. The other candidates included Martin Brewer, superintendent of the Pioneer School District in Shelton; Chris Fritsch, assistant superintendent of the Longview School District and Ann Varkados, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for the Bethel School District in Spanaway.

The district received 21 applications for the superintendent position. They were screened by BWP and Associates, the firm that the district hired to conduct the search, and the School Board.

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