LAKEWOOD – Superintendent Michael Mack is retiring from the Lakewood School District at the end of the school year, but his summer vacation will be spent getting to know expatriate students and their families.
Mack and his wife Jeanne are heading to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, where he will serve as superintendent of the International Schools Group.
“This is going to be an adventure for both my wife and me, while also working closely with both staff and students in an international setting,” said Mack, who visited Saudi Arabia twice on recruiting visits.
Mack spent 36 years in education with the last 11 in Lakewood, first as director of student services and Career and Technical Education before taking over as superintendent in 2014.
While at Lakewood, the district’s on-time graduation rate improved from 77.9 percent to 92.1 percent, and the district passed a bond to build the new high school that opened in 2017.
Previously, Mack served as superintendent at the International School of Latvia. Prior to that he served as the principal of Stanwood Middle School from 1999-2004.
Mack earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial arts education from Western Washington University in 1981, his master’s in education in school counseling from Seattle University in 1985, his principal’s certification from Seattle Pacific in 1993 and his doctorate in educational leadership and superintendent certificate in 2004 from Washington State University.
Over the next few months, the school board will work with the district’s staff and the community to choose a new superintendent.
ISG is a not-for-profit organization that has existed in Saudi Arabia for more than 50 years, employing over 300 teachers and serving 3,500 students. In all, six schools serve American, United Kingdom and international families represented by more than 70 nationalities.
The ISG Search Committee screened many candidates to identify several that were interviewed by the Committee.
Three finalists including Mack were invited to meet with students, parents, faculty, staff, administrators and the Board of Trustees.
“The selection of Dr. Mack to lead ISG was a decision that reflects the engagement of the entire ISG community,” said Mark Bennett, chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Mack said the heat will take some getting used to, as will adjusting to a Sunday through Thursday school school and navigating the nuances of a completely different school system.
He said what he’ll miss the most is spending time with his grown children and grandson regularly.
His last day is June 21. The couple plans to take a two-week vacation rafting the Grand Canyon before heading to Saudi Arabia, he said.