Templeton passed over in bid for Kent superintendent job

Washougal School District Superintendent Mary Templeton has been seeking job in the Seattle area to be closer to family

Washougal School District Superintendent Mary Templeton will remain in Washougal for now. The superintendent, who has twice been named one of three finalists in the running for a superintendent position near Seattle – first in Issaquah, Washington in March and then, earlier this month in Kent, Washington — but has failed to make the final cut both times.

The Kent School Board chose Israel Vela as its new superintendent during a board meeting on April 20, selecting the district’s interim chief administrator over two other candidates – Templeton and Keisha Scarlett, the assistant superintendent of academics for Seattle Public Schools.

All three candidates toured the Kent School District the first week of April and met with staff, students and the community.

According to the Kent Reporter, three Kent School Board members cast votes for Vela, who has served as the district’s interim superintendent since August 2021, while two other school board members voted against Vela’s hiring.

Kent School Board Director Michele Bettinger later said she wanted to hire a superintendent who could unify the district, but did not believe any of the three candidates could accomplish that feat. The Kent Reporter said Bettinger suggested community feedback had not strongly supported any of the three superintendent finalists,, including Templeton.

“This board needs to continue searching for an unifying thought leader who can lead the district to the best possible outcome,” Bettinger said, according to the Kent Reporter.

“My vote is not for or against a candidate but to continue the search. I believe that needs to happen.”

The Issaquah School District board of directors chose Templeton as a finalist for its soon-to-be-vacated superintendent position in March, but later selected Mukilteo School District deputy superintendent Heather Tow-Yick for that job.

Templeton has served as the Washougal School Districts’ superintendent since 2018.

She recently told the Post-Record that, although she is seeking a position in the Seattle area to be closer to family, she remains fully invested in her role leading the Washougal School District.