Thursday, December 2, 2021
Dec. 2, 2021

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Roots in Vancouver Public Schools run deep for interim chief Kathy Everidge

By , Columbian staff writer

Kathy Everidge has spent decades in Vancouver Public Schools as a student and educator. Now she is tasked with leading the district through the final months of a most unusual 2020-21 school year as in-person learning and school activities slowly return.

Last week, Everidge was appointed interim superintendent by the school board and will serve in the top job until a new superintendent begins duties July 1, pending contract negotiations. The board unanimously voted to part ways with Steve Webb, the district’s superintendent since 2008, by advancing his retirement date ahead of the originally scheduled timeline. The board is in the final stages of hiring a permanent superintendent; the search to replace Webb began in late 2020.

“The board’s top priority right now is making sure the needs of our students are being met while we complete the search for the new superintendent,” board President Kyle Sproul said through a district news release. “Kathy’s depth of experience at every level of education makes her the perfect choice to guide us through this transition.”

Everidge said in a statement she learned what it means to serve in public schools from her father, Larry Smedley, Sr., a former VPS teacher, coach and administrator. Everidge said her father inspired her to choose education as a career path.

She is a Columbia River High School graduate who has worked for the district for 38 years. She began in 1983 as a classroom teacher at the now-closed Lewis Junior High School and worked as a building and district administrator since 1991. She was named assistant superintendent of human resources in 2016.

Everidge said in her roles over the years, “Whether I was riding on a school bus to support a driver taking children home, stacking chairs in the cafeteria with our building maintenance staff, observing our amazing teachers in classrooms as they instructed our students or assisting support staff and counselors when children were having a rough day,” she said, “the men and women who serve the children and families in VPS have always inspired me.”

She continued: “This pandemic has stretched all of us, especially our students. We have had to dig deep into our physical and emotional resources and collaborate more to create new systems so that we can safely return everyone to school. Is this easy work? No, but we understand that our students, families, and community are counting on us.”