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Larry Nyland became the latest schools chief to take the reins of Seattle’s school district Wednesday, following a 5-2 vote of the Seattle School Board at a special meeting.
Nyland, a Seattle native who ran school districts in Marysville and Pasco before retiring in 2013, has led the district since August as an interim replacement for former Superintendent José Banda. Banda left Seattle to take a job with the Sacramento Unified School District.
The Seattle School Board initially thought it would do a national search for a new leader, but changed course in late November. The day before Thanksgiving, Board President Sharon Peaslee placed a motion on the board’s agenda for the following week that recommended hiring Nyland permanently.
Peaslee and other board members have said they think Nyland’s background of righting districts in turmoil makes him a good fit for Seattle.
But after an outcry from parents and activists who were dismayed at how quickly the board was moving, the board delayed its vote by a week to give more than a few days for public comment.
Nyland, 66, graduated from Seattle’s Roosevelt High in 1966. He earned a geography degree from the University of Washington and taught high school in Gig Harbor before moving to Alaska, where he worked as a principal and superintendent. His first superintendency in Washington was in Pasco, from 1982 to 1992.
After that, he helped lead a superintendent-preparation program for Seattle Pacific University, served as interim superintendent in the Shoreline School District, then held a couple of administrative posts in the Highline School District before moving to Marysville.
The Wednesday vote authorized the board to negotiate a contract with Nyland, which the board will vote on in January.
Under Nyland’s interim contract, he makes $1,537 a day instead of a salary and benefits. Banda made $270,000 a year, plus benefits and a $22,000 annual contribution to a tax-sheltered annuity of his choice.