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Feb. 27, 2021

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Webb letter hails his time in Vancouver schools, offers no new details on departure

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Former Vancouver Public Schools Superintendent Steve Webb called serving as the district’s leader for 13 years “an honor of a lifetime” and said he plans to remain in Vancouver and forever be a champion for the city’s students and its schools in a letter addressed to the community he personally sent to The Columbian on Wednesday.

Webb’s 674-word letter did not discuss his abrupt placement on leave and subsequent early retirement.

Instead, he highlighted achievements he said the district made under his watch, including passing eight levies and bonds, a 1:1 technology initiative, mobilizing partner services and financial support to Family-Community Resource Centers, and increasing on-time graduation rates. Webb joined the district in 2006 as deputy superintendent and became superintendent in 2008. 

“Serving as VPS superintendent and stewarding our schools on behalf of children and families has been the honor of my lifetime,” Webb wrote. “To be fair, it has not always been easy. The size and complexity of the system has created unique opportunities, different points of view and challenges.”

He goes on to say he’s most proud of the collective impact in partnership with the community, and how the district kept its “true north” mission as a focal point on its strategic vision and decision.

Even during a pandemic.

“The pandemic made our job as educators more difficult,” he said. “On balance, however, leading the district has been fulfilling and often fun.”

He continued: “I applaud Vancouver’s educators and their heroic work during this pandemic. It illustrates their underlying commitment to serve with love. I also want to thank board members past and present for their commitment to improving the lives of children and families. Their unwavering dedication to making a positive difference is an inspiration.”

Last week, Webb and the district’s board of directors mutually agreed to part ways and move Webb’s retirement date ahead of the original timeline. Webb’s contract as superintendent expired June 30, 2022. A search for his successor began in late 2020. Kathy Everidge was named interim superintendent last week, and Webb’s permanent successor begins July 1, 2021, pending contract negotiations. 

No information has been released publicly on the events leading up to Webb’s departure. Board President Kyle Sproul declined to comment when reached by The Columbian about the events leading up to Webb’s placement on administrative leave, and a mutual decision by both parties to part ways.

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