Administrative Transitions for the 2015-2016 School Year

It is with great sadness for the District and happiness for her, that I announce the retirement of Lee Ann Lanning. She is, and has been, a dedicated employee of Eureka City Schools since 1985 when she began as an intern school psychologist. Over the years she has served as a counselor, school psychologist, Healthy Start Coordinator, Director of Special Education, elementary principal, interim superintendent, and most recently as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources/Special Education. Over the past three years I have had the privilege to work alongside Lee Ann and have come to appreciate and respect what she has done for the students of Eureka City Schools.

When talking with some of her peers around the district and county, Lee Ann has affectionately become known as the “guru” of special education. In her time with Eureka City Schools, she has attended thousands of student Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings and has had a tremendous impact on all of these students. She is truly leaving big shoes to fill.

With Lee Ann’s departure, we are restructuring her current position. Laurie Alexander will be taking the district leadership role with special education while remaining the Director of Student Services. We will be downsizing one assistant superintendent position and posting an open position for Director of Personnel Services/Public Information Officer.

Dr. Tish Nilsen has decided that she wants to join a larger district as an assistant superintendent or a smaller district as the superintendent. She was gracious enough to notify us early so we could start the process of hiring an Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services.

I have selected and last night the Board approved Michael Davies-Hughes as her replacement. Michael comes to Eureka City Schools with a broad base of experience in many positions including most recently serving as the Superintendent of McKinleyville Elementary School District. In prior years, he has served as principal and assistant principal in the same district. He served as a teacher in Fortuna, San Salvador, and Middletown. Michael earned his Masters of Education from Framingham State College in Framingham, MA.

After serving as principal of Eureka High School for six years, Rick Jordan has been selected to take on a new assignment that will include being the District Coordinator of Dual Enrollment, Adult Education, and Center for Independent Study, and principal of Zoe Barnum High School. Rick is looking forward to building a sustained relationship with College of the Redwoods through dual enrollment.

Jennifer Johnson, a long time teacher at Eureka High School, Instructional Coach, and most recently the principal of Washington Elementary for the past two and one-half years, will become the principal of Eureka High School. She is excited to return to her roots and work with the teachers she taught with.

Sheri Jenson has served as the principal of Zoe Barnum High School and Center for Independent Study for the past four years. This year, Adult Education was added to her responsibilities. Sheri has been selected to be the next principal of Washington Elementary School. She too is excited to return to some of her early years in education where she was an elementary teacher.

Please join me in congratulating these folks as they embark on their new journeys!