Mt. Pleasant hires a new chief

Superintendent will work five hours a day for the 55-student district

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

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A longtime superintendent is taking over the Mount Pleasant School District on a part-time basis.

The Mount Pleasant school board voted unanimously Tuesday to hire Peter Tarzian as superintendent.

His wife, Dawn Tarzian, was named superintendent of the neighboring Washougal School District in July 2011.

Peter Tarzian will work five hours a week at Mount Pleasant.

"I will be on site two days a week, 21/2 hours each day," he said.

Tarzian will earn $12,000 a year, plus travel expenses when he goes with teachers to an in-service activity.

He was superintendent of the Falls City, Ore., School District for 12 years before the Tarzians relocated to Washougal a year ago.

Now they're in a similar situation, he said.

"Dawn was superintendent at the Corvallis (Ore.) School District. I was 30 miles up the road in Falls City," Tarzian said.

The new superintendent "brings a level of experience we haven't had," said Thomas Schlatter, a member of the Mount Pleasant school board.

Tarzian and the board agreed on a one-year contract. As far as anything beyond that, Schlatter said, "We'll wait and see how it works out for all involved."

Tarzian replaces Linda Slattery, who recently resigned after one turbulent year as superintendent.

"I understand it's been difficult," said Tarzian, who hopes to help the district head into 2012-2013 with a clean slate. "We had a good conversation with all parties. They did vote 5-0 to hire me. I'm here to help them make the very best school they can have. It's probably good that I have not paid much attention to stuff that hit the press."

That included the resignation of former district bus Cheryl Randall after pleading guilty to misdemeanor theft. Randall confessed to using a district credit card to purchase $500 in gas for her personal vehicle.

The school board filled that spot by hiring Dale Grams as bus driver and maintenance person.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, Dolores Nelson resigned as president of the school board; Karl Kanthak was elected board president by a 3-2 vote, Schlatter said.

Mount Pleasant, east of Washougal on the Skamania County line, has 55 students in kindergarten through sixth grade.