Agreed: Absent Marysville superintendent will resign in 2022

Jason Thompson, meanwhile, will not work and will be paid $21,630 per month through June 30.

Jason Thompson (Marysville School District)

Jason Thompson (Marysville School District)

MARYSVILLE — Superintendent Jason Thompson’s tenure with Marysville public schools is coming to an end.

In an eight minute special meeting on Wednesday, the Marysville School Board approved a deal enabling Thompson — who’s been on leave since March — to keep his job and salary but not return to work this school year. It calls for him to resign on June 30, 2022.

Under terms of the settlement agreement that he signed Monday, Thompson will be paid $21,629.85 per month and receive full benefits until his resignation takes effect.

He will remain on administrative leave for the remainder of his employment and is barred from working in the district again. Also, he and the district agreed not to take any legal action against each other.

And the deal says Thompson and district officials “will confer and agree on a joint statement” regarding his resignation. No statement was issued Wednesday.

Wednesday’s action brings an end to a difficult period for the district.

Thompson, who joined the district in 2018, taking over for Becky Berg, hasn’t been on the job since taking a reported medical leave of absence in March. At the time, district spokesperson Jodi Runyon said Thompson did not have a severe illness.

But as his absence lengthened, it became clear Thompson and the district were working on an amicable way to sever ties. The agreed resignation coincides with the end of Thompson’s three-year contract.

Earlier this year, a group of parents called for the resignation of leaders in the Marysville School District after multiple death threats made against students of color, in two separate incidents.

Meanwhile Wednesday, the board named Chris Pearson as interim superintendent for the rest of the current school year. Pearson has been acting superintendent since July.

“Dr. Pearson has been stability for our district,” said Vanessa Edwards, school board president. “He’s been just wonderful through all the unknowns and he will take good care of us as we enter the school year. We’re excited to name him as our interim.”

Pearson said he is “grateful” for the board’s support. “I feel fortunate to be a part of the Marysville community and look forward to helping the district move forward this year.”

The board also voted to begin the process of finding a new superintendent. Directors agreed to hire a professional search firm by mid-October to oversee the process.

“We’re excited as a district to begin our new journey and to have the community involved with selecting our new superintendent,” Edwards said.

Paul Galovin, Marysville School Board vice president, echoed Edwards’ sentiment. “We need to find a good fit for the district to move in a positive direction,” he said.

Chris Pearson (U.S. Department of Education)

Chris Pearson (U.S. Department of Education)

Pearson spent two years as superintendent at the Madison International School in Merida, Mexico, before coming to the Marysville School District as the executive director of elementary schools in July 2020. He previously served as superintendent at the Conway School District, and during his time in leadership roles at the Burlington-Edison School District, he was named Washington State Elementary Principal of the Year in 2014 and spent a year as a Principal Ambassador Fellow under the Obama administration.

Prior to moving into leadership roles, Pearson spent years teaching in both Washington, D.C., and Athens, Greece, according to a statement provided by the district.

“A lot of things have been difficult in the district lately,” Galovin said. “This is one of those that’s been lingering and we’re all ready to be able to continue to move forward.”

Jerry Cornfield: jcornfield@heraldnet.com; 360-352-8623

Isabella Breda: 425-339-3192; isabella.breda@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @BredaIsabella.

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