Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Mick Miller’s decision to resign Tuesday was, as these decisions usually are, part personal and part professional.
But Miller’s reasoning for taking a new job in Spokane was also refreshingly reflective and seemingly selfless. Miller said he felt it was time for him to move on so the school district could move forward with its effort to overhaul and upgrade the facilities at Walla Walla High School.
“I just think that really right now I am not the right person to lead the district forward,” Miller said Tuesday night.
“ ... After the bond this year, and some other things, I just kind of feel like we really need somebody else to take us to the next step.”
Miller went on to say that he wasn’t able to guide the process well enough to get the community support needed to pass a bond proposal. Two failed in the four years Miller was on the job.
Miller is not to blame for the lack of support. The missteps have been a team effort — starting with the School Board. The distrust of the school district cited by some for the failed bonds began well before Miller took over.
However, Miller is the public face of the school district, so symbolically falling on his sword does set up the opportunity for a fresh start.
The School Board needs to work through the process of hiring an interim superintendent and then the superintendent that will lead the district for years.
The Wa-Hi overhaul needs to be given a rest as the voters have become weary of the issue. The bond payments for the new Edison Elementary School will end in 2018, which would seem a reasonable time to take another shot at upgrading Wa-Hi.
The School Board needs to take the next few years to rebuild trust with those who are skeptical of the district’s decisions in recent years. And, perhaps, new School Board members will be elected over the next four years.
The last Wa-Hi bond failure did stain the school district. Miller’s resignation provides a great opportunity to do some necessary cleanup.