School Administrators

Ellensburg School District Interim Superintendent Mike Nollan talks to the Daily Record Editorial Board about the upcoming levy measures at a meeting in 2018.

After a pretty busy year in the Ellensburg School District, Mike Nollan realized he was looking back fondly on the 14 months he spent as interim superintendent.

That busy year included helping to hire his replacement Jinger Haberer, and helping pass both a school bond and a levy. In December, knowing that the superintendent job in Kittitas was currently accepting applicants, Nollan threw his name in the ring.

“I started thinking about my time as interim,” Nollan said. “I thought ‘I really liked that, I really enjoyed it.’”

The Kittitas School District has been run by its own interim for the past two years, Rich Stuart — who also happened to help Ellensburg find Haberer — and Nollan said he really liked what was going on in Kittitas.

“He had really worked hard with the teachers and the board and it’s a good situation,” Nollan said. “I feel really good about going into that school district.”

Nollan acknowledged that Kittitas is going through some of the same troubles that the rest of the districts in the county are facing in regards to the McCleary decision and school funding, so he brings a familiar perspective in that sense.

Other challenges — or opportunities as Nollan likes to call them — are addressing some facilities needs in the district. Nollan said there are currently committees looking into possibly running a bond to update their elementary school, an older gym and modernizing a the bus garage and maintenance facility. Kittitas School Board chairman Mike Lowe said Nollan’s familiarity with these issues helped him stand out from the crowd of 28 applicants.

“Everybody just really felt like he was a good fit,” Lowe said. “He seemed to be a good listener, and I think he’ll be a good mentor for some of our younger teachers and principals.”

Nollan said his family is planning on staying in Ellensburg for now, but joked at six miles away he probably lives closer to the school than some people that live in Kittitas. He also said he has no regrets about not applying for the Ellensburg position when it was open, and that he thinks Haberer is the right person for that job.

“I think the board is really happy,” Nollan said. “They hired who they wanted and I think she’s the right person for it.”

Nollan will work out the remainder of his contract with ESD through the end of June, then start at Kittitas July 1. In the meantime, he plans on attending some evening meetings in Kittitas to help him hit the ground running.

“There’s a lot of good people in place,” Nollan said. “I have met some great teachers, paraeducators… they’ve got the board is fairly new board, but wonderful people, really looking forward to working them.”

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