With about six weeks remaining before he officially takes over as superintendent of the Coupeville School District, Jim Shanks is getting an early start.
The incoming superintendent visited the Coupeville School District to meet with staff and students while helping the interim superintendent manage the Central Whidbey-based district.
“Everyone has been really kind and gracious,” Shanks said. His week started with a board retreat April 8 where they discussed the district’s strategic plan and then held an executive session to talk about collective bargaining.
He visited Coupeville even though he is still working as superintendent of the Juab School District in Utah. Because Coupeville has gone through several interim superintendents in recent months, he said it was best if he could visit for a week, work with interim superintendent Lisa Bjork and help with projects that staff are undertaking.
School staff are currently working on adjusting curriculum to meet federal common core standards and implementing a new principal / teacher evaluation system. Leaders are also busy developing a new budget.
Shank said he is familiar with the financial challenges school districts are facing due to the recession.
He has served as superintendent of the Utah-based school district, which has 2,300 students, for three years. Before that, he worked for the Idaho Falls School District, which is in Idaho, where he held positions as principal and director.
Shank said he was interested in applying in the Coupeville superintendent position because it offered a chance to move back to the Pacific Northwest. He was raised in Longview and his wife, Sally, was raised in Portland. They have six children and three of them will attend Coupeville schools.
Shank said he learned about the position after talking with former Interim Superintendent Karen Koschak.
Koschak abruptly resigned several months ago due to a family issue. The Coupeville School District named Jerry Jenkins, current superintendent of the Education Service District in Anacortes, to replace Koschak. He served for several weeks before naming current interim superintendent Lisa Bjork.
Shank is scheduled to start his job in Coupeville in early June, which is typically a month earlier that superintendents typically start a new job. He said leaders of the school districts talked and came up with an arrangement to allow Shank to start in June.