Richard Stewart hired as interim Superintendent
Richard Stewart hired as interim Superintendent

Richard Stewart has been down this road before, only this time it has led him to La Conner. 

Stewart, a veteran Washington state public school administrator, agreed to a contract Tuesday with the La Conner School District Directors to become interim superintendent. 

The Board interviewed Stewart last week. It voted Monday to hire the Ferndale resident during its video-conferenced summer retreat. He will be appointed and administered the oath of office at a 4 p.m. Board meeting Wednesday.

Stewart succeeds Dr. Whitney Meissner. Meissner resigned June 30 to become a director of secondary education at Lake Washington School District in suburban King County. 

Stewart is quite familiar with the role of interim superintendent. He has spent half his 20 years as a school superintendent in interim roles, said La Conner School Board President Susie Gardner Deyo. 

He filled in as interim superintendent of the Kittitas School District in Eastern Washington during the 2017-18 academic year. Prior to that, Stewart was superintendent of Nespelem School District in the heart of the Colville Indian Reservation. 

His prior experience at Nespelem will serve Stewart well here, given his background in Native American education and in stewarding federal impact aid monies. 

La Conner Schools Director of Special Services Andy Wheeler has served as the district’s acting superintendent since July 1 to bridge the span between Meissner’s departure and Stewart’s hiring. 

Stewart will serve until a new superintendent is hired. 

Stewart began his career in public education in 1975 after graduating from Central Washington University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education then returned to Ellensburg a decade later to finish his master’s degree in educational administration. 

Stewart attained his superintendent’s credentials at Washington State University in 1999.

The School District will launch a formal search for a new superintendent in January.

A District website link provides access to Wednesday’s meeting.