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After less than a year, superintendent Dr. Sara Hahn-Huston announced that she is resigning at the conclusion of the 2019/20 school year. 

The Hood River County School District and Superintendent Dr. Sara Hahn-Huston announced Tuesday that she is resigning at the conclusion of the 2019/2020 school year. The district granted her an approved leave on Wednesday.

Hahn-Huston came to work for the district in July 2019.

In a statement to the district staff, Dr. Hahn-Huston said, “I wanted to let you know that I will be resigning my position at the end of the year so we can relocate to be closer to family who need our support at this time.

“As I spent time getting to know students, parents, staff, and community members I’ve had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed watching student learning and high-quality teaching unfold inside and outside of our school walls.”

(Hahn-Huston could not be reached for further comment.)

“The district and the superintendent will begin transitioning leadership at the end of the 2019/2020 school year to ensure continuity and maintain our focus on student achievement and staff support,” said Board Chair Chrissy Reitz.

“The district and board thank Dr. Hahn-Huston for her time here and wish her and her family the best for her and her family as they make a personal transition,” Reitz said.

To facilitate Hahn-Huston’s relocation, the district announced that Neely Kirwan, director of curriculum and instruction, will be taking over day-to-day operations and will serve in this capacity until June 30, 2020.

Kirwan, meanwhile, recently gave notice of her own that she is leaving the district; in July she will start work as director of student services for Hermiston School District.

“The board has confidence in the whole admin team,” Reitz said. “Neely is now acting district CEO in addition to her existing duties but she has a lot of strong people behind her that I think will help make all of that happen.”

The district will announce by the end of June an interim superintendent to serve for the 2020-21 school year. Reitz said the board will begin discussing the process for a permanent superintendent hiring as soon as possible.

“We want to assure families, staff and the entire Hood River County community that we are committed to making this transition as seamless as possible as we continue preparing for the 2020/2021 school year,” said Reitz.

Other open positions with the district include the Community Education director (Matt Rankin has resigned) and the newly-created communications director  job.

The district is also working to fill a variety of classified and certified positions as it prepares for 2020-21.

Reitz acknowledged some uncertainty about hiring decisions for the next school year, given concerns over possible cuts in the State of Oregon budget.

The board passed its 2020-21 budget earlier this month and it its based on the district’s share of a $9 billion K-12 statewide budget.

“We’re moving ahead as planned at the level the state had originally said would come to education, so until we hear differently we’re cautiously optimistic. We’re always making sure we’ve been smart on our fiscal decisions. We’ve always been smart about, but we know we need to be careful.”

She said must rests on the state’s next 2020-21 revenue forecast, to be issued on May 20.

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