Whitney Meissner

Whitney Meissner

LA CONNER — After three years as head of the La Conner School District, Superintendent Whitney Meissner announced Monday she will resign effective June 30.

“I feel like I have had amazing opportunities here in La Conner,” Meissner said. “I’m very grateful I’ve been able to serve in La Conner for three years and we’ve done great things.”

La Conner School Board President Susie Deyo said the board would accept Meissner’s resignation at its meeting Monday evening.

“We do wish her the best in her next opportunity,” Deyo said.

Meissner, a Sedro-Woolley High School graduate, said she will be taking another position in the state.

Though she did not say which district she would be going to nor which position she has accepted, she said it is an administrative position working with teachers that is not a superintendent position.

Meissner took the reins of the district in 2017 on a three-year contract.

Her tenure proved tumultuous in June 2019 when the district’s two employee unions issued no-confidence votes against her.

“Change is difficult,” Deyo said. “She came in and started to make some changes, and there were some challenges. It’s difficult to come into a school district when a prior superintendent (Tim Bruce) has been there for 20-plus years.”

Still, Deyo credited Meissner with helping to build a strong relationship with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community — a relationship that faced challenges after the 2013 Great Wolf Lodge tax decision.

Deyo also credited Meissner with helping to pass a 2019 educational programs and operations levy that helped put the district in a stronger financial position — especially because a similar levy proposed in 2016 in the wake of the Great Wolf Lodge decision failed. It was the first such levy failure in more than two decades.

Despite the tensions of last summer, Meissner said she felt good about this past school year and the positive things that were happening within the district, especially in light of the adversity created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I feel like this year has been better than I could have hoped for in all of my wildest dreams, especially considering how tense things were a year ago,” she said.

Deyo said the board hopes to have an interim superintendent in place within 30 days. After that, the district will undergo a formal search to replace Meissner.

“We look forward, with our community and our staff, to move ahead here,” Deyo said.

More change is ahead for the district, as La Conner High School and Middle School Assistant Principal Kathy Herrera, who also acts as the district’s athletic director, has been named the principal of the two schools after Todd Torgeson announced in April that he was resigning, Meissner said.

Because of uncertainty for public school budgets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Meissner said the assistant principal position likely will not be filled immediately.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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