The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dena Martin
The Times 

Waitsburg school district superintendent to exit June 30

 

January 17, 2019

Dr. Jon Mishra

WAITSBURG - At the December 20 regular school board meeting, Waitsburg School District Superintendent Jon Mishra surprised school board members by tendering his resignation. Mishra cited family needs as the determining factor in his decision to leave Waitsburg.

Mishra will terminate his employment effective June 30 and said he submitted his resignation early so that the district can move forward with the search for a new superintendent.

Mishra, along with his wife, Loreena, and son, Aakash, moved to Waitsburg in 2017. His two older daughters live in Corvallis, Ore. where one attends OSU and the other attends Linn-Benton Community College.

"We want to get closer to them. It has been difficult not seeing them on a regular basis and to be far away when they may need us," Mishra said.

Mishra came to Waitsburg after working for eight years as Executive Director of Special Programs for the Hermiston, Ore. school district. He said he was looking forward to returning to a smaller district where the focus is on the whole child.

"If I'm hired, I'm here to stay. At the very least, until our son is through high school. If we're here, we will live here and be a vibrant part of the community. This is a family commitment," Mishra told open house attendees in April of 2017.

But plans change. Mishra said the separation from his daughters has been more difficult than anticipated. His son will enter high school next year, and the family would like to settle closer together.

"Plans change. He (Aakash) is feeling the effects of being away from his sisters. We are a close family. It will be nice to be closer geographically," Mishra said.

Mishra says his reception in Waitsburg has been wonderful and that he will miss the relationships that were made with students, staff, parents and community.

"I envisioned a small, close-knit community and that's what I experienced. There were no surprises," Mishra said.

Mishra replaced Dr. Carol Clarke, who resigned in June of 2017. Mishra immediately assumed responsibility to guide and oversee the implementation of capital projects funded by a $3.8 million bond approved by voters in Nov. 2016.

Those projects, which included construction of a new field house at the sports complex, a kitchen remodel and district-wide HVAC upgrades, have been successfully completed.

When asked what he is most proud of during his time in Waitsburg, Mishra's focus was on people and attitudes. He cited the "Yes, And" Manifesto, unifying staff, strategic professional development, systems for staff and student success, the professional development council, Waitsburg Foundations, and social-emotional focus as significant accomplishments.

In the immediate future, Mishra says he plans to continue the work currently underway in the district while looking for employment close to his daughters.

When it comes to advice for the incoming superintendent, Mishra suggests that they "focus on the great things that are going on."

In December of 2016, the Waitsburg School Board hired consultant Bill Jordan to facilitate the search for a district superintendent to replace Dr. Carol Clarke, who retired in June of 2017. Mishra was hired in April of 2017 and assumed his role as superintendent on July 1 of that year.

The district will begin to develop a plan of action to replace Superintendent Mishra at the Jan. 17 school board meeting at 6 p.m. in the elementary school library. The public is encouraged to attend and offer input into the process.

 

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