Inevitably, change happens! Certainly the time between the winter Dispatch and this edition is evidence of that. The legislative session ended with mixed results in resolving various funding and policy issues impacting our school districts as well as the AESD. On a notable positive side, we were able to achieve significant initial funding and policies in support of school safety and social-emotional health legislation which was a top priority for AESD. This will help secure personnel and resources for each of our ESDs. We are truly appreciative of the teamwork of Melissa Gombosky, Greg Lynch, Kevin Chase, Gene Sharratt and all of our ESD superintendents for making this a reality.

Another change, much more personal, is my inability to serve my full term as your AESD President and as a board member of ESD 112. My wife and I are in the process of moving to a new location (Astoria, Oregon) in order to be closer to our family. My passion and commitment to the work of our organization continues, but the change of address forces my resignation. However, the good news is that Carl Johnson, an experienced AESD Board member, has agreed, and been selected by the Executive Board to assume the Presidency and continue the progress toward achieving our networking and strategic plan goals. He will take office at our September meeting.

Change also brings the retirement of our Executive Director, Dr. Gene Sharratt. Gene has been an inspiration, an organizer, and a highly effective spokesman for our AESD. He truly has “moved the needle” in accomplishing goals set by the superintendents and Executive Board of AESD. He was the clear and unanimous choice for the AESD President’s Award presented at the 50th Anniversary State Conference at the Skamania Lodge. We wish Gene the best as he pursues “retirement” and welcome his successor which should be selected by our September meeting.

On a final note, I wish to acknowledge the AESD 50th Anniversary Celebration Conference held in mid-April. Its Olympic theme of “building great teams that do big things” represents the ongoing work supporting students and educators by all nine ESDs. The speakers all carried out that theme to repeated standing ovations. ESD 112 deserves many kudos for hosting such an outstanding event! Puget Sound ESD will be hosting the 2020 conference in Tacoma.

I look forward to seeing you at our June 25 Executive Board meeting at ESD 101 in Spokane and passing the gavel to Carl Johnson to continue the important work of our AESD.