McCleary superintendent resigns; interim hired

McCleary School District will close out the year with a change in leadership following the resignation of Superintendent Dan Casler.

Casler announced his resignation during the Feb. 22 school board meeting. On March 20, Casler was placed on administrative leave.

On March 22, Dr. Paula Akerlund was hired as interim superintendent.

“With Mr. Casler’s resignation and the current discord at the district, the school board felt it would be wise for the district to put an interim in for the coming transition,” board chairwoman Teneille Carpenter said in an email. “The district is facing a number of complicated issues that we think will be best reviewed by a fresh set of eyes.”

Dr. Akerlund recently retired from Ocosta School District, according to a letter sent to McCleary School District families. Akerlund’s father was a former superintendent at the McCleary School District.

“We are honored to have such a distinguished McCleary School alumna to lead our school at this time,” Carpenter wrote in the letter.

Prior to his resignation, Casler had received a vote of “no confidence” from a teachers association. The vote was cast in October 2017.

At the time, the “mostly symbolic” vote was spurred by ongoing contract collective bargaining for classified staff, and several grievances filed against the district on behalf of both staff and teachers for bad business and management practices, according to a representative for the Washington Education Association.

Though Casler’s tenure ended early, Carpenter commended his accomplishments with the district.

Those accomplishments include his work with the student recognition program, improving student learning opportunities through additional support staff, and a community garden.