erik swanson


OMAK - Erik Swanson, superintendent of the Omak School District since July 1, 2013, as announced plans to retire at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

His last day on the job will be June 30, 2020, according to a letter from Swanson to the Omak School Board.

The board was scheduled to consider Swanson’s letter during its regular meeting Tuesday evening, Aug. 27. The meeting came after The Chronicle’s deadline.

“I wish to thank the board for its insights, support and lifelong labor on behalf of the students and community here in Omak,” said Swanson’s letter. “Your commitment and unflagging efforts are noteworthy to say the least. I depart this position grateful and thankful for the opportunities we have shared for leading learning here in our community.”

Swanson told the board his work in Omak “has been and continues to be the capstone of a long career helping our young people grow into strong, productive adults.”

The board hired Swanson, then 65, on May 5, 2013, to succeed Art Himmler, who died Feb. 7, 2013, in a vehicle crash while on his way to an educational training session in Wenatchee.

Before coming to Omak, Swanson was principal at McKinley Elementary School in the Yakima School District.

Swanson was selected from an original field of 21 applicants who were whittled down to five semifinalists and three finalists. He began his educational career as a music teacher from 1973 to 1988. Since 1988, he served in several administrative positions.

He has a doctorate in educational leadership.

Among the semifinalists interviewed by the board in 2013 were former Tonasket High School Principal Mike Messenger, now superintendent in Mansfield, and then-East Omak Elementary School Principal Ryan Christoph, who now is principal at Omak Middle School.

In addition to acting on Swanson’s retirement letter Tuesday, the board was scheduled to discuss hiring a consultant to assist in searching for a new superintendent.

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