Longtime educator Chuck Carpenter has been named the newest director on the Washougal school board.
At their Sept. 8 meeting, the Washougal School District’s school board members selected Carpenter to fill the board’s open District 5 position — a seat left open after former school board director Ron Dinius resigned in June.
“I was interested in this position because when I retired for the first time in 2000, my wife (Barbara) and I decided we would spend our time on community service instead of traveling or whatever else. We thought it was important,” Carpenter said. “The other reason is that I have spent most of my life being involved in schools. I’ve been an administrator, I’ve worked with school boards, and I know how things work. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to be of some help.”
Carpenter is a member of the Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance, the Washougal Business Association and the Columbia River Arts and Cultural Foundation. Previously, he served on the Washougal Parks Commission, the Elected Officials Salary Commission and the city’s roundabout design committee, and chaired the Washougal Citizens Government Advisory Committee and Washougal Festival of Trees. In 2018, the city of Washougal awarded Carpenter with its Community Leadership Award.
He and his wife, Barbara Carpenter, were named the 2019 Camas Days Royal Senior Court’s king and queen for their dedication to community service.
“I’ve always been an educator, which means I try to help people of all ages,” he said. “Helping other people accomplish their goals, whether in learning or life, is important to me. If I can be a part of these organizations and be of some help, that’s what I want to do.”
The board members selected Carpenter for the position over four other applicants.
“The board interviewed a group of truly outstanding applicants, and we struggled to choose a single candidate to fill the open position,” said board member Jim Cooper. “I believe that having such a slate of highly-qualified applicants is testament of the improving appreciation of the quality of district leadership and the educational opportunities offered by the district, of the positive relations between the WSD and Washougal community and of our shared vision for the district to become one of the top-performing school districts in Washington state.”
School board president Cory Chase said Carpenter’s extensive background in education stood out during the selection process.
“We decided (Carpenter) was the right fit for our current needs based on his experience in public education and his connection with the board during the interview process,” Chase said. “His knowledge and understanding of our current challenges will lessen the learning curve normally experienced by new board members and allow him to jump in and help our board navigate the unprecedented challenges we face. I look forward to working with him.”
From 1972 to 2000, Carpenter served as an elementary school principal and superintendent in Clackamas, Oregon, before retiring and moving to Washougal. He then worked as a personnel director for the Camas, Washougal and Reynolds (Oregon) school districts before retiring for a second time in 2009.
“I’ve been a superintendent,” Carpenter said. “I understand the roles of board members and administrators. I know how to work with a school board and be supportive to the superintendent and staff members. My learning curve will be pretty short, and I’ll know the right questions to ask.”
Carpenter said he believes Washougal School District has been “well managed” in recent years.
“For the last several years, it’s been operating very, very smoothly,” Carpenter said of the school district. “Right now, I have a lot of confidence in the way the school district is functioning.”