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Passing the baton: Quincy superintendent of public schools leaving to lead district in Vancouver area

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | December 30, 2021 1:07 AM

QUINCY — Superintendent John Boyd, who has led the Quincy School District since 2014, announced Wednesday he’s leaving to become the next superintendent of the Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver.

“They approached me,” Boyd told the Columbia Basin Herald. “They believed I have the skillset to come in in challenging circumstances and to provide the leadership they need.”

Boyd said he expects to start full-time heading the Evergreen Public Schools in mid-February, but will continue to help the Quincy School District through the end of July as the school board searches for Boyd’s replacement.

“There’s solid leadership in Quincy,” Boyd said, specifically referring to Assistant Superintendent Nik Bergman. “I would not consider leaving if it were not the case.”

Boyd will succeed former Evergreen Public Schools Superintendent Mike Merlino, who was fired without cause in early December following allegations he attempted to promote his girlfriend, as well as “attempted to commit multiple abuses of power and acts of retaliation against employees in the district office,” according to a Dec. 16 report in The Columbian.

In an Associated Press report, Tyler Firkins, an attorney representing Merlino, released a statement on his client’s behalf saying Merlino looks forward to “proving the absolute falsity of the allegation that his conduct was ‘egregious,’ or inappropriate such that the district has cause to discharge him.”

Quincy School Board Vice President Tricia Lubach said Quincy will miss Boyd.

“We’re happy for him,” Lubach told the Columbia Basin Herald. “He really is just an outstanding human being and super guy. Evergreen is getting a good one.”

Lubach said the Quincy School Board will meet in executive session Thursday afternoon to determine its next steps, but doesn’t expect to hire anyone quickly.

“We’re looking for someone right away,” she said. “We’re not going to make a decision (on Thursday), we’re just going to discuss our process of moving forward.”

According to data available from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) the Evergreen Public Schools reported 23,000 students enrolled for the 2020-21 school year at six high schools, six middle schools, 22 elementary schools and four specialty schools. This compares with the Quincy School District’s 3,000 students at one high school, one middle school, five elementary schools and one specialty school during the same period.

Boyd, who has been an educator for nearly 30 years, said while he and his wife talked about possibly looking to lead a larger school district, he was prepared to retire as chief of the Quincy schools.

“But we decided this would be a good step to take,” he said.

While both Boyd and Lubach listed a number of projects during his time overseeing the QSD — building the new high school, making sure 25% of teachers are bilingual, renovating all of the district’s existing schools — Boyd said he is proudest of the relationships he helped foster with staff and students and the leaders he got the opportunity to cultivate.

“The principal corps is just stunning. It’s good to see that many good leaders,” he said.

Boyd also said he is going to miss Quincy.

“I already do, and I’m not even gone yet,” he said. “It’s a real bittersweet thing. Quincy is a special place, and really supports its schools.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

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