Vancouver Public Schools Superintendent Steve Webb will retire at the end of the 2021-2022 school year, the district announced Monday.
Webb has been with the 23,400-student district for 14 years, 12 of those as superintendent.
“The board appreciates Dr. Webb’s extraordinary record of dedication, service and contribution to Vancouver Public Schools,” school board president Wendy Smith said. “Rarely do superintendents of large, urban districts have such a long tenure. We are so fortunate to have benefited from Dr. Webb’s caring leadership and enduring commitment to our community.”
Webb, 57, is a Washington native. He taught at Camas High School and was later a principal and administrator at the Lake Stevens School District. He moved to a superintendent job in Apple Valley, Calif., before returning to Vancouver.
The school district lauded Webb’s accomplishments during his tenure, including the passage of multiple school funding measures and presiding over a growing graduation rate. The district also adopted its technology program under Webb’s leadership, providing iPads or Chromebooks to all students to use in the classroom.
Webb was named the 2016 Washington State Superintendent of the Year. This year, he received the 2020 Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award from the American Association of School Administrators, an award given in 2017 to John B. King Jr., President Barack Obama’s secretary of education.
Webb’s tenure has come with its challenges and controversies, including the current coronavirus crisis, which has tested district leaders across the state.
The state Attorney General’s Office found last year that the district was disproportionately suspending and expelling students of color and students with disabilities. Teachers in 2018 went on strike for better wages; the district narrowly avoided a strike the following year with a union representing paraeducators, clerks and secretaries.
It is not unusual for Vancouver Public Schools superintendents to announce their retirement so far in advance. Webb was hired by the district as deputy superintendent in 2006, and was promoted to the top job in 2008 after the retirement of John Erickson.
“I am immensely grateful to this community, our partners, school board members past and present, and all of our incredible employees over the years who have made a difference in the lives of children,” said Webb. “Together, we have left an indelible legacy, transformed students’ lives, built new partnerships and strengthened our community.”