School Board approves superintendent contract

Jeff Snell will be paid $160,000 per year

Jeff Snell

The Camas School Board has unanimously approved a contract for its next superintendent.

Jeff Snell, 42, is the current deputy superintendent and will begin his new role in July.

He will be paid $160,000 per year, plus a $600 per month car travel allowance, and $1,500 per month applied to the purchase of a tax-sheltered annuity.

Snell noted that when he left his job as principal of Fort Vancouver High School to serve in his current role with the Camas School District, he was preparing to be a superintendent in the future.

“Leaving a school is a big decision, so when I said goodbye to being principal at Fort Vancouver, my mindset shifted from supporting students at the school level to supporting students and staff at a district level,” he said. “I love working with staff, helping them grow and working on problems of practice with them. I’ve really been interviewing for the superintendent role the past four-and-a-half years.”

Camas School District Superintendent Mike Nerland announced his retirement March 1. He has served as superintendent since 2005. He will begin a new job as Educational Service District 112’s next assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, effective July 1.

The board decided that conducting a superintendent search process would not result in an outside candidate who was better qualified than Snell, according to Mary Tipton, board president.

Snell is looking forward to his new role, but noted he won’t be able to be involved as much in the day-to-day teaching and learning process.

“I’ll need to broaden my focus to include every phase of the district,” he said. “But no matter what role I’ve played, focusing on developing and sustaining relationships and learning has been critical. In the role of superintendent, that won’t change. It’s about understanding people and understanding the conditions that promote learning.”

To prepare for his new job, Snell said he has been shadowing Nerland, engaging with community, staff and students; and working on his doctoral degree at Washington State University. He has also earned a superintendent’s certificate from WSU.

“The biggest challenge is always trying to meet the needs of each learner in our system, especially when trying to understand how to best prepare our students for that unpredictable future,” he said. “I want to ensure a seamless transition in leadership to continue the great work our staff are doing every day. We want to continue to evolve at the classroom level, learning each day so we can deliver the next day.”

District voters recently passed a $120 million bond, which will support several different projects including new high school and elementary school facilities, additional parking for Camas High School students, property acquisition, safety improvements, modernization of the Joyce Garver Theater/Garfield Building, concessions and bathrooms on the Doc Harris Stadium visitor side, and turf and light improvements at CHS fields.

“Attention to these projects and providing ongoing communication with our community will be critical,” Snell said.