Outgoing Omak School District Superintendent Erik Swanson (left) congratulates his successor, Michael Porter.

OMAK – Michael Porter was sworn in as new Omak School District superintendent and board secretary June 23 during the regular school board meeting.

The board met via the Zoom platform.

Porter’s contract begins July 1. Swanson is retiring after seven years with the district.

Porter, who was appointed in late February, said he wants to be visible in the community and err on the side of over-communicating with the staff and community.

He brings experience with curriculum and instructional staff development as a result of 16 years of classroom experience and 12 years as an administrative leader, said the district. His core values include improving and maintaining effective communication skills, building relationships, and engaging with the community and staff.

“I am excited to lead alongside the incredible Omak School District administrators, staff, students, parents and community,” Porter said. “I believe that partnering together we can enhance our strong attributes and advance the Omak School District into an educational leader, not only in the Okanogan Valley, but throughout Washington state.”

Porter said he wants to look for additional ways to enhance the district’s career and technical education programs.

He has been Omak’s assistant superintendent since 2018. He was director of teaching and learning from 2013-2017, when he became interim principal at Omak Middle School.

He has more than 27 years of teaching and educational leadership, according to his resume. He earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Oregon in 1991 and his master’s degree in professional development from Heritage College, Toppenish, in 1997. His superintendent certification is from Washington State University in 2017.

Before coming to Omak, Porter was middle school principal in Bridgeport from 2009-2013, elementary principal in Bridgeport from 2009-2012, dean of students at Bridgeport Elementary, 2008-2009; an elementary teacher in Bridgeport from 1994-2008, and a second grade teacher in Molalla, Ore., from 1992-94.

He and his wife, Amy Porter, have two children, Evan, a recent Omak graduate, and Ellie, who will be an Omak High School sophomore in the fall.

Porter described himself as “an energetic, eternal optimist.”

He said he is passionate in his belief that, through relationships, clear communication, perseverance and a dash of humor, challenges can be overcome. In his spare time, he enjoys playing pickleball, vacationing at the Oregon coast, and spending time with family and friends.

In other business, the board:

-Hired Derek Pulsifer as music teacher for North Omak Elementary School and Nathan White as middle school science teacher.

-Accepted the resignation of Carlee Gude, East Omak Elementary School third grade teacher.

-Reassigned Jennifer Wesley as Washington Virtual Academy middle school special education master teacher.

-Accepted resignations of WVA teachers Ingrid Sievers, Danielle McIntosh, Traci Tawney, Ari Olsen and Cynthia Higgins.

-Accepted the resignation of custodian Brenda Moore.

-Hired Alex Cate as middle school wrestling coach and Shelby Borhman as high school assistant cross country coach.

-Decided to support the Washington State School Directors Association in opposing legislation that reduced local effort assistance funding.

-Approved several resolutions related to the switch from Swanson to Porter.

-Had first readings on policy updates dealing with accountability goals, transfers, student immunization and life-threatening health conditions, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-mandated drug and alcohol testing program and allowable costs for federal programs.

-Approved a memorandum of understanding with the Colville Confederated Tribes for early childhood education and Head Start.

-Approved career and technical education five-year plans and the Carl Perkins federal grant application.

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