Nyland, 64, who has served almost nine years as the superintendent of the Marysville School District and 42 years as an educator, announced Thursday that he intends to step down at the end of his contract in June.
"What a blessing it's been to be here and have good partners from school and the community," he said. "So many good people have come together to make good things happen for Marysville and I have just appreciated that."
Nyland, who makes $165,690 a year, began in 1971 as a teacher in Gig Harbor. Over the years, he has served as a superintendent in Alaska as well as Pasco and Shoreline and as a chief academic officer in the Highline School District.
He was hired as the Marysville School District superintendent in summer 2004. The district had experienced a 49-day teacher strike in fall 2003 and enrollment numbers and district budget were suffering. Nyland said he visited with more than 700 people that first summer and set out to work on three different areas for the district: relationships, results and resources.
Nyland will be missed, said Jodi Runyon, executive assistant to the superintendent.
"He came to Marysville at a time when we needed him the most and he has done great things for our district and the community," Runyon said. "He has created a strong educational and organizational foundation for our district that will sustain us for many years to come."
Nyland said that he is proud that during his tenure the district has built up relationships with employees, the Tulalip Tribes, United Way, Rotary clubs and others.
When he arrived the graduation rate hovered around 50 percent. That's increased to more than 70 percent. And voters have backed the school district by approving levies and a $118 million bond package passed in 2006 that helped build Grove Elementary School and Marysville Getchell High School.
"A lot of good work has been completed or at least launched," Nyland said. "As much as I would have wanted to stay for another year, staying for longer to launch more work isn't something I'm able to see through."
Nyland, who was named Washington's superintendent of the year in 2006, added that he believes the district is at a good place for a new leader. He said he is looking forward to spending more time with family. He isn't sure what is next for him but would like to remain part of education work that involves closing achievement gaps for students.
"I hope to still be engaged in education," Nyland said. "I still have a real heart for students."
The Board of Directors is supportive of Nyland's decision and happy for him, said Chris Nation, board president.
"It is going to be a great loss, no doubt about it," he said. "But we definitely have great things in place and a great foundation to help us move forward."
The process of finding a new superintendent for the district of about 11,000 students is under way. The Board of Directors during a regular meeting Monday plan to choose a superintendent consultant search firm. They will work with the firm to establish a time line and opportunities for comments from district staff and people in the community.
"We're going to have a lot of community input and a lot of staff input about what person we want as our leader for the future," he said. "This is a decision that affects the whole community and that person has to be really well accepted."
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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