Longtime Battle Ground schools chief Bria to retire

Raised in Vancouver, she spent the past 15 years with district

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

Published:

Updated: April 30, 2013, 11:21 AM

 

BATTLE GROUND — Longtime Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent Rochonne "Shonny" Bria, 65, announced her retirement at a special board meeting on Monday afternoon.

At the beginning of the consent agenda portion of the meeting, Bria moved to a table facing the board members to read the names of several longtime district administrators who are retiring at the end of the school year, including Diana Gilsinger, the district's deputy superintendent.

"I think it would be time for you consider my retiring," she told the board. "I'm asking you to consider accepting me along with the other individuals. Mr. President and the board, I present this consent agenda for your approval."

The board unanimously approved the consent agenda, which included Bria's retirement.

"With passage of the (maintenance and operations) levy (on April 23), the support of the community, the strength of the board and the dedication of the teachers and staff, I am confident this district, with nearly 13,000 students, is on an upward trajectory," Bria wrote in her resignation letter to district employees.

Currently a Yacolt resident, Bria was raised in Vancouver and attended Arnada Elementary School before attending high school in Portland and college in Arizona.

"My roots in this area go back to my childhood visits to my great-grandparents' farm in Amboy," Bria said.

Bria was superintendent at Pendergast School District in Pendergast, Ariz., when she accepted the top position in the Battle Ground district in 1998. She has worked for the district for 15 years.

Only six current superintendents in the state are believed to have more than 15 consecutive years at the same district, according to the Washington Association of School Administrators.

Bria is meeting with the school board Tuesday morning to work out the details of her retirement, including finding her successor.

Her salary is $154,000 annually, excluding mileage and benefits. Battle Ground is the third-largest school district in Clark County, after the Evergreen and Vancouver districts.

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4515; http://twitter.com/Col_Schools;susan.parrish@columbian.com