Tumwater schools launch search for new leader after Superintendent Bash resigns

John Bash’s last day as Tumwater School District’s superintendent will be June 30.
John Bash’s last day as Tumwater School District’s superintendent will be June 30. Courtesy

The Tumwater School District is looking for a new leader.

John Bash, who has served as superintendent since 2015, announced shortly before winter break he will leave the district at the end of the school year.

In his Dec. 18 resignation letter to the school board, Bash wrote he has accepted a job as assistant superintendent for the Tenino School District.

Bash’s letter did not mention the teachers strike that delayed the start of school in September nearly two weeks. The district took the teachers union to court in an effort to force teachers back to work.

“The strike brings out the worst in everybody, that’s the way I look at it. There’s healing to be done there,” said Jay Wood, the Tumwater School Board president. “I’m just so sorry he’s leaving.”

Wood said it was Bash’s decision to leave the district.

A district brochure describing the Tumwater superintendent position says it seeks candidates with a “collaborative leadership style,” “approachable personality” and “ability to earn and maintain trust.”

It says finalists will be selected by the board in mid-February, with finalist interviews happening in late February.

The district plans to host community forums to ask what people want to see in their next superintendent, said Laurie Wiedenmeyer, the district’s community relations coordinator.

“We’re hoping they’re going to do a wide search and come (back) with someone who is ready to lead the district and have a positive impact on students, teachers and the Tumwater community,” said Tim Voie, president of the Tumwater teachers union.

Before coming to Tumwater, Bash was deputy superintendent of the North Thurston Public Schools and an administrator for the Centralia School District. He began his career as an elementary teacher in the Shelton School District and later taught in Olympia School District.

Abby Spegman joined The Olympian in 2017. She covers the city of Olympia and a little bit of everything else. She previously worked at newspapers in Oregon, New Hampshire and Hawaii.