MARYSVILLE Lakewood School Superintendent Larry Francois is headed south.
After five years with Lakewood schools, Francois is set to take over leadership of the Northshore School District in Bothell.
Im really excited, said Francois, 42. It (Northshore) is an excellent district with a well-deserved reputation for outstanding programs.
But Francois also mentioned that, of course, he is sad to be leaving Lakewood.
Its been a good five years for me, Francois said.
With the Bothell district being the 12th largest in the state, Francois said he is viewing the move as a promotion. The Lakewood School District contains roughly 2,500 students compared to Northshores 20,000.
My long-term goal has been to meet the challenge of a being a superintendent in a larger school district, he said. My interest in Northshore was very specific to the opportunity of the superintendent vacancy presented at this time and in that location.
Francois was one of six finalists for the Northshore job. He was formally offered the spot March 6. Francois will finish out his contract here, remaining on the job until June. He will begin in Northshore July 1.
Between now and then I have pledged my support to the Lakewood School Board to assist in whatever way possible to ensure a smooth transition to a new Lakewood superintendent, Francois said.
Board of Directors Vice-President Oscar Escalante said he was disappointed by Francois choosing to leave, but not surprised Northshore chose him to lead their schools.
My feelings are mixed, Escalante said, adding he was happy to have had a superintendent of what he called Francois superior caliber.
People like him, they get snapped up, Escalante added.
The Lakewood Board of Directors held two special meetings after Francois made his announcement last week. During the first meeting on March 9, Escalante said board members discussed their various options.
He added the board decided to keep all choices open, perhaps hiring a search firm to find the next superintendent, perhaps promoting from with the current ranks.
The district is in such good shape, we want to make sure everything is considered, Escalante said.
A second special session was called for the evening of March 11. That meeting occurred after The Globe deadlines for this issue. Escalante said he expected the board to reach some decision as to its next move during that meeting.
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