Marysville schools chief out on medical leave; interim named

Superintendent Jason Thompson exited March 19. Meanwhile, a school board position may soon open.

Jason Thompson (Marysville School District)

Jason Thompson (Marysville School District)

MARYSVILLE — Superintendent Jason Thompson has taken a medical leave of absence, though it’s not clear when he expects to return, according to the Marysville School District.

At the same time, a position has opened up on the district’s Board of Directors. Pete Lundberg has left his post due to family issues, though his resignation is not yet official, Board President Vanessa Edwards said.

Thompson went on leave March 19. Deputy Superintendent Lori Knudson will assume Thompson’s responsibilities in his absence.

Thompson is still employed by the district, district spokesperson Jodi Runyon said in an email.

“Please be assured that he does not have a severe illness,” she said. “We are unable to further discuss confidential personnel matters.”

Each year a superintendent has a performance evaluation at which time the contract typically is extended by a year, Edwards said. That means the superintendent usually is in a three-year contract at all times.

After this year’s evaluation the board decided not to extend his contract, Edwards said. His contract ends in 2023.

“If at that point he is not the right fit and we are not the right fit, then we would go on a hunt for another superintendent,” she said. “But at this time he is still our superintendent.”

She also did not know when Thompson expects to return to work.

Last week, the Communities of Color Coalition hosted a forum for students and parents to discuss racism in Marysville schools. In recent months multiple death threats have been made against students of color, some during class time.

Many wondered aloud why Thompson was not present. His medical leave is the reason, Runyon said.

Thompson was hired by the district in 2013 as the human resources director, around the time former Superintendent Becky Berg was hired to lead the district.

She guided the district through a deadly shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School in 2014. She had been superintendent about five years when she resigned after learning she had a non-cancerous brain tumor.

Thompson was appointed to the position as interim superintendent after Berg left in 2018. Later that year, he was chosen by the Board of Directors to fill the position “for the safety and stability of our district,” Edwards said.

At that time, Edwards and board member Chris Nation abstained from the vote. Edwards made that decision because she had hoped to see more community involvement in the process, she said.

Edwards has been on the board for three years, with one year until she is up for election. She sees herself running again.

Lundberg worked in the district for more than two decades and spent 18 of those years as principal of Marysvile Middle School. He retired in 2009.

Lundberg was first elected to the board in 2011. His resignation is to be made official at the April 14 board meeting, Edwards said. Applications to fill the position likely will be accepted soon after.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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