Camas schools superintendent announces retirement

Mike Nerland served in current job for 11 years

Nerland hired as ESD assistant superintendent

It was announced on March 7 that Mike Nerland, current CSD superintendent, was selected as Educational Service District 112’s next assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, effective July 1.

Nerland has served as a teacher, principal and superintendent. He announced March 1 that he will leave his post as Camas’ superintendent in June.

Current ESD Assistant Superintendent Barbara Lomas will retire in June.

In his new ESD position, Nerland will earn an annual salary of $167,076.

Camas School District Superintendent Mike Nerland announced his retirement March 1.

He has served as superintendent since 2005.

“It has truly been an honor to be part of the Camas School District,” Nerland said. “I’ve had the privilege to work alongside many talented, dedicated educators and staff, a supportive and visionary school board, parents, community and business leaders who value and support education, and motivated, hard-working, high-achieving students.

The School Board has selected Jeff Snell, deputy superintendent, to serve as its next superintendent.

According to School Board President Mary Tipton, board members said they were sad regarding Nerland’s decision, but thankful for the leadership he has provided.

“Mike has been an inspirational leader whose decisions were always student centered,” she said.

Nerland was first hired in Camas as the principal of Lacamas Heights Elementary and then served as principal at Camas High School when it opened in its current location in 2003.

He oversaw the opening of Grass Valley Elementary in 2012 and Woodburn Elementary in 2014, Hayes Freedom High School in 2010, the rebuilding of Doc Harris Stadium and Helen Baller Elementary, and the expansion of both Camas High School and the district’s transportation center.

His career in education spans 33 years as a teacher, coach, elementary principal, high school principal and superintendent.

“It has been a joy to be part of the Camas community and all it has to offer,” Nerland said. “Camas is a special place where I’ve raised my family and set some deep roots; I plan to continue to be an active member of our community.”

Snell will begin as superintendent on July 1. He has served as deputy superintendent for five years.

“I am confident Jeff will continue his remarkable leadership in his new position helping us continually improve student achievement in Camas,” Tipton said.

In Washington state, there is no specific protocol required for School Boards when selecting new administrators.

Doreen McKercher, community and school relations coordinator, noted that Snell was hired through a deputy superintendent search in 2011 and has a, “proven track record in high-stakes, visible leadership.”

“In 2013, Jeff spearheaded a year-long, comprehensive strategic planning process which included the engagement of hundreds of people including staff, students, business leaders, and community members,” she said. “He listened, learned and through the process, garnered roughly 5,000 data points which he synthesized into a strategic plan.”

According to McKercher, planned succession is common in the private sector and has also been used in school districts, including in Vancouver.

The board decided that conducting a superintendent search process would not result in an outside candidate who was better qualified than Snell.

“The Camas School Board unanimously agreed that Jeff Snell, in his five years as deputy superintendent, has consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership both within the district and with the community that we are looking for in our next superintendent,” said Tipton. “As a board, we felt there would be no other outside candidate better qualified and positioned to lead our district forward to the next levels of excellence in student achievement.”

Snell has 21 years of experience in education as a coach, math teacher, principal and deputy superintendent.

He received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics education from Boston University, master’s degree in educational leadership from Washington State University, and is pursuing a doctorate degree from WSU.

The district will now begin a search for an assistant superintendent to fill the role that will be vacated by Snell.

“It has been a privilege to serve as deputy superintendent under Mike’s leadership,” Snell said. “Our district has a foundation built on strong board leadership and community support, talented staff members, and amazing students and families. I look forward to continue to build on that foundation.”