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News / Clark County News

Evergreen schools Superintendent John Boyd will retire as of June 30

Boyd took the permanent position in February 2023

By Griffin Reilly, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 17, 2024, 2:46pm

Evergreen Public Schools Superintendent John Boyd announced Wednesday he will retire from his position effective June 30.

The announcement comes just weeks after Evergreen’s board of directors approved $18 million in budget cuts and the district’s teachers union leadership presented a vote of no confidence resolution in Boyd, the board and Evergreen leadership.

“This was a difficult decision but after speaking with my family, we have decided this is the right time for me to retire,” Boyd said in a statement shared by the district Wednesday. “I appreciate the EPS board of directors trusting me to lead this district. It has been a privilege to serve the Evergreen community and work alongside a staff that is dedicated to serving and supporting our amazing students.”

Boyd began as Evergreen’s interim superintendent in February 2022 and was appointed the district’s permanent superintendent a year later.

Previously, Boyd worked as the superintendent at the Quincy School District for nearly a decade. He also had experience as a paraeducator,  English as a second language teacher, assistant principal and principal in several Puget Sound-area schools.

According to the Washington State Fiscal Information site, which collects data on state employee salaries, Boyd received $343,049 in total compensation in the 2022-2023 school year — the most recent data available.

District spokesman Craig Birnbach said Wednesday that Boyd will not be negotiating a lump-sum payout upon retiring, despite having one year remaining on his contract.

A brief, challenging tenure

Boyd’s time in Evergreen was defined by the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just weeks into his appointment as interim superintendent, the district failed a supplemental levy. He led the district to pass the levy months later, but at a lower tax rate than previously proposed.

The district also made millions of dollars in budget reductions in 2022 — amounting to dozens of teaching staff and several members of the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion staff being cut.

When lobbying himself for the permanent superintendent position a year later, Boyd said he would commit to prioritizing equity and finding additional support for special education.

In both 2023 and 2024, however, the district made millions of dollars in further cuts. Like other districts across the state, Evergreen pointed to the exhaustion of pandemic-era federal relief funding, rampant inflation and inadequate state funding as reasons for the deficits.

Boyd also oversaw the district amid contentious bargaining periods with its two largest staff unions — one of which, with the Evergreen Education Association, boiled over to a weeklong teachers strike at the start of the current school year. Since the strike, a thousand-strong group of parents has regularly raised frustrations with district leadership at Evergreen board meetings.

Superintendent turnover

Boyd was hired following the departure of Mike Merlino, who was fired without cause in December 2021. Records requests revealed Merlino’s firing was the result of internal investigations that found he had committed abuses of power and acts of retaliation against employees. He received a payout of $269,038.

The district went without a nationwide search for Merlino’s replacement, instead working privately with state education leaders to quickly identify Boyd as an interim replacement. Evergreen’s board of directors then hired Boyd to the permanent role after a year as the interim, describing him as the “right fit” for the position.

Merlino, too, had a short tenure with Evergreen. He was first appointed interim superintendent in February 2019 following the sudden resignation of John Steach; Merlino then became the permanent superintendent in April 2019.

Like Merlino, Steach received a payout upon leaving after two years in the position. According to documents obtained by The Columbian in 2019, Steach received a severance package of $301,812.17.

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Board President Rob Perkins expressed disappointment Wednesday but said he appreciates Boyd’s time in the district.

“As a board, we would have liked for Superintendent Boyd to stay on longer, but we wish him the best in his retirement,” Perkins said in a news release Wednesday. “We want to thank John for his hard work and the dedication he has shown our students and our entire school community. John has led us through some challenging times, and he has done so with compassion, integrity and a focus on making decisions that best serve our students.”

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