via the Bellingham Herald, March 28 2012
The superintendent of the 300-student Hood Canal School District will be the new superintendent for Meridian schools beginning in July.
The Meridian School Board on Tuesday, March 27, unanimously selected Tom Churchill to replace Tim Yeomans, who is leaving the top job at Meridian to be superintendent of Puyallup schools.
“Tom Churchill has more experience and more credentials to effectively run the school district,” school board chairman Brian Evans said.
“He understands rural school districts like Meridian. I think he’s going to extend the good work done at Meridian,” Evans added.
Churchill beat out David Forsythe for the superintendent post. Forsythe is executive director of teaching and learning for Meridian School District and former principal for Ten Mile Creek Elementary School in the district.
“I feel honored to be selected. I look forward to building relationships with the people in Meridian. We’re in a people business so it’s all about relationships,” said Churchill, who also is principal in the Hood Canal School District.
He said he looked forward to being part of Meridian’s leadership team – comprised of core administrators, principals, assistant principals and department leaders in the school district – and working with the school board.
Churchill, 49, praised the work that Yeomans has done.
“Tim will be a hard act to follow,” he said, adding that Yeomans “is a pretty dynamic guy” and that there were many good things in place in Meridian because of his leadership.
Meridian School District has about 2,100 students, and Yeomans has been its superintendent since July 2007.
As for his plans for Meridian, Churchill said that will be guided by a transition plan being put together by Yeomans and the school board.
“They’re in the middle of some pretty major construction projects, so that will obviously be a high priority,” Churchill said. “I need to get to know the leadership team and the work that’s being done there and to get up to speed. My highest priority will be building relationships with folks in Meridian.”
Churchill also has previous experience as a superintendent when he served in that capacity in the Entiat School District from 2002 to 2004.
Although he’s coming from a smaller school district – with a $4.6 million budget compared to Meridian’s $17.5 million – Churchill said he will be able to hit the ground running because the responsibilities of state reporting and budgeting are the same for all school districts in Washington state.
“We all have the same responsibilities to the state and federal government and local taxpayers no matter the size of your school district,” he said.
Churchill also was a finalist for superintendent of the nearly 2,000-student Mount Baker School District, but the Mount Baker school board last week picked Charlie Burleigh, principal of Kendall Elementary School, to be the new superintendent.
Churchill said he was interested in coming to Whatcom County as a step up in his career and also because he had two grown sons in Bellingham.
“We spent a lot of time, my wife Patty and I, in Bellingham visiting our sons,” he said, adding that one son has moved to L.A. to try to make it as an actor.
The Puyallup School District board hired Yeomans for the Puyallup superintendent job on March 6. That district has about 21,100 students.