School transport has a new head

A retired Seattle principal and former South Whidbey School District contract employee has been named acting supervisor of the district’s transportation and maintenance departments.

John Wilson, who retired from a West Seattle school in 1988, was picked out of three candidates to run the district’s bus barn and facilities maintenance crews until the position is filled permanently.

Wilson said this week he would remain in the position as long as needed.

Wilson worked under former South Whidbey superintendents, Lisa Bjork and Martin Laster on special projects, state testing and student disciplinary hearings.

South Whidbey’s interim superintendent, Bob Brown, said this week that he was pleased he was able to hire someone familiar with the district’s schools.

“John has had experience with the district,” Brown said. “He knows a lot of the players and has shown himself to be a caring and dedicated administrator.”

Brown made the appointment following the failure of contract negotiations with Rick Pitt, the district’s former maintenance supervisor.

Pitt and Margaret Evans, the district’s former transportation supervisor, were laid off early this summer in order to create a new, single supervisory position for both departments. At one point Pitt was offered the job, but according to Brown, decided not to take it.

Wilson was hired just weeks before school begins on Sept. 9. He beat out two other candidates for the position.

Wilson does not step into a the most calm of working situations. Labor issues have been boiling in the transportation and maintenance departments during the past several years between the district and members of the Service Employees International Union, Local 925. Some union grievances settled in April 2003 are back on the table at this time.

Brown said he believes Wilson will deal with those issues proactively.

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