Shelley Redinger, Spokane Public Schools superintendent, announced tonight that she is leaving Spokane to become the superintendent of Richland School District.
"I am grateful to the team at Spokane Public Schools and to the Spokane Community for the collaboration and support I have experienced here," Redinger says in a statement. "I know Spokane has a bright future and I look forward to continuing to advocate for education in eastern Washington in my new position in Richland."
Redinger, who grew up in the Spokane community, has been superintendent of Spokane Public Schools for eight years. She's applied for multiple superintendent jobs this year, saying it had to do with her husband's career in nuclear engineering. In a message to district staff Tuesday night, she says her leaving Spokane Public Schools "is not, in any way, a negative interpretation of the district's future."
"Rather, the opportunity to lead the Richland School District while achieving other family goals was too good to decline," she says.
However, the Spokane Education Association — the union representing local teachers — recently had grown concerned with Redinger's leadership. Multiple sources in recent days indicated to the Inlander that the SEA was considering a vote of no confidence in Redinger, due partly to the high turnover within the district office including the resignation of associate superintendent Linda McDermott.
But Jeremy Shay, Spokane Education Association, denied that the SEA was going in that direction in a recent interview with the Inlander.
"That is not where we're headed," he said Monday.
He acknowledged, however, that they held concerns with Redinger's leadership.
"In a large district like this, when you have substantial turnover, it's a change in direction for us," Shay said, before Redinger announced her departure. "Consistently having new leadership at the top filters out to changes and practice at the building level."
In a statement, school board president Jerrall Haynes says he appreciates Redinger's leadership.
"While we are sad to see Shelley go, we appreciate everything she has done to help SPS progress and position the district for even greater success in the future," he says. "She is leaving the district in a better place than when she came here and we will be forever grateful. I look forward to what's in store for Shelley in Richland."
As for what comes next for Spokane Public Schools, Haynes says the board will be evaluating options in the coming days.
"I look forward to what the future holds for Spokane Public Schools," he says.
Redinger says in her email to staff that she's proud of what she's accomplished in Spokane.
"I believe that SPS is well-positioned to embrace new opportunities with a great leadership team and staff," she says. "By leaving at this time, I feel that SPS will benefit overall with a fresh set of eyes and ideas at the helm."