Monroe schools appoint new chief

A former Snohomish County school administrator is returning to take over the top post in the Monroe School District.

Ken Hoover, 53, is chief operating officer for the 85,000-student Jefferson County School District in Colorado, that state’s largest school system. In the 1990s, he held a similar financial position in the Edmonds School District.

“I’m very excited about getting back to Snohomish County,” Hoover said from Golden, Colo., on Tuesday. “It’s a wonderful place to live. … It seems to be a good fit for myself and my family.”

Monroe has 6,300 students and is growing. Last fall, it opened its sixth elementary school. In recent years, it has watched its population of Spanish-speaking immigrant students skyrocket.

Superintendent Bill Prenevost is retiring at the end of June after 37 years in education, all of them in Monroe, with the last 12 years spent at the helm.

School board members sought a replacement who would be a visible part of the community and put students and values such as financial responsibility first.

They formally appointed Hoover on Monday after interviewing three finalists. He was one of 19 who had applied.

“It was not easy to find a successor for Bill Prenevost, but the board was pleased to see such a deep pool of candidates interested in Monroe,” board vice president Dean Adams said.

He added that Hoover is “a great fit for our community.”

Hoover grew up in Woodland, between Longview and Vancouver, Wash. He has relatives in the Puget Sound area.

A former budget specialist for the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Olympia, Hoover also worked for the Aberdeen School District and was executive director of the Washington Alliance for Better Schools, an education reform group.

Hoover and his wife, Kim, have three children. Their youngest, Linnea, will leave them “empty nesters” after she graduates from high school this spring and heads to a New York art school.

Their oldest son, Chris, serves in the Air Force and is stationed in Idaho. Another son, Erich, attends a Colorado university.

Hoover has been a finalist in other superintendent searches, including one in the 9,400-student Peninsula School District in Gig Harbor.

“I’ve spent time in what I would call small, medium and large school districts,” Hoover said. “I feel you can see what you’re accomplishing in one the size of Monroe.

“In the system I’m in now, it’s harder to see the impact you’re having on kids.”

He said he looks forward to becoming involved in the community. In Colorado, he has been a Rotary Club member and advocated for people with disabilities.

Reporter Melissa Slager: 425-339-3465 or

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