School Board extends Vela’s interim superintendent contract

Will fill in until a new interim superintendent is chosen by board

Israel Vela

Israel Vela

The Kent School Board extended the interim superintendent contract for Israel Vela until it can find a new interim superintendent.

The board voted unanimously Sept. 9 to extend Vela’s interim contract after giving him a 30-day deal in August to fill in after Calvin Watts resigned as Kent School District superintendent to become superintendent of the Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia.

The district has advertised for an interim superintendent and will review applications and select one of the candidates, according to the district website. No timeline has been announced for filling the position. The interim superintendent will finish out the 2021-2022 school year prior to a new superintendent starting next summer.

“The board will focus on the permanent superintendent search involving the public later this school year,” according to a district statement. “Information will be shared on (the district’s website) and in open public meetings about the search process as the board moves forward.”

Vela is the Kent School District’s chief school operations and academic support officer. He was one of four lead administrators under Watts. Vela’s interim role started Aug. 2. The board voted unanimously to appoint Vela at a July 28 special meeting, but only to a 30-day contract.

A search by the board for a new superintendent is expected to start in January after voters select two new members to the five-member board on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

The board races are between Tim Clark and Sara Franklin for District No. 5 director and Awale Farah and Bradley Kenning for District No. 4 director.

The terms of Denise Daniels and Maya Vengadasalam expire this year and neither ran for reelection. Board members Leslie Hamada and Michele Bettinger have two years remaining on their terms. Joe Bento is running unopposed in November for the seat the board appointed him to in February.

Prior to hiring Watts to replace Edward Vargas, the board appointed Tony Apostle, a retired Puyallup School District superintendent, to serve as interim superintendent during the 2014-2015 school year. Vargas left in October 2014 and the board picked Apostle for the interim role the next month before hiring Watts in May 2015.

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