Students and staff can expect to see some familiar faces in different roles at Clover Park Schools this fall, as a handful of administrative changes were recently made. Clover Park School District serves the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community.
The district recently announced four changes to its administrative staff for the 2018-2019 school year. One change is the interim responsibility of the Clover Park superintendent position — vacant due to the August retirement of longtime superintendent Debbie LeBeau — which will be taken on by Doug Kernutt.
Kernutt served as Clover Park’s deputy superintendent from 2012 to 2014. After a short retirement, he worked the past year as the district’s executive director of student support. Kernutt also was the district’s administrator for human resources from 2007 to 2012.
He came to Clover Park with five years experience as the Centralia School District’s superintendent, where he retired in 2007.
Kernutt said he’s looking forward to serving the district for the next year in order to allow it to begin a search for a new superintendent, but he plans to try his third time at retiring after the year is up.
“I’ve committed to the (school) board for one year, and I’m looking forward to that year,” he said. “We have a great team here of teachers, leaders and support team — all good people.”
Kernutt lives in Lacey with his wife, Norma. The couple has two adult sons and four grandchildren.
Also excited to take on a new role in the district is Ron Banner, who will serve as Clover Park’s deputy superintendent this fall. Banner has a long history of service as principal in Clover Park’s Southgate Elementary school and Mann Middle School. He also previously served three years as Clover Park’s assistant superintendent.
Although he loved working directly with young people, he said he’s ready to oversee programs, such as special education, information and technology and student services.
“My goal is to support the programs as they support the schools,” he said. “It’s a little shift, but I’m in education and looking at supporting the bigger picture.”
Banner was born in Germany and attended Department of Defense schools there through seventh grade. He’s the son of retired Army 1st Sgt. Edward Banner, who retired from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in 1981. The family lived in Tacoma throughout the younger Banner’s adolescence. He graduated from Tacoma’s Lincoln High School in 1987.
Clover Park’s new executive director for elementary education is Tess McCartan. McCartan has been at Clover Park since 2016 — first, as a supervisor of kindergarten through fourth grade literacy intervention and, for the past year, as director of teaching and learning. She previously worked for 10 years as an elementary school principal in the Central Kitsap School District.
The district’s fourth administrative change comes for Kristi Smith, current executive director of teaching and learning in Clover Park Schools. She will become the district’s new assistant superintendent for elementary schools, teaching and learning.
Smith has been with Clover Park School District since 2014, formerly as director of teaching and learning. She served for 14 years as an elementary school principal for South Kitsap School District prior to coming to Clover Park.