BI schools chief resigns for medical reasons

Acting superintendent will take over for at least 1 1/2 years

Bainbridge Island School District superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen has taken medical leave and will resign June 30, 2024.

“After extensive consultation and personal contemplation, I am writing to inform the community of my need to take an extended medical leave. As a consequence I will be resigning my position as superintendent. This has been a very difficult decision, and I came to this conclusion by balancing my long-term well-being with the needs of our district to have strong, stable leadership at this time when there is extensive, important and difficult work to be done,” he writes.

The school board appointed assistant superintendent Amii Thompson as acting superintendent during a special board meeting Dec. 21. Because of other priorities the board won’t search for a permanent replacement until about this time next year.

Bang-Knudsen said it’s been an honor to lead the BISD the past eight years. He thanked his dedicated administrative team, educators, staff that work every day to nurture every student and the school board that supported him. “The hard work and dedication of the School Board is an example of community service that truly serves our community, and our students,” he wrote, adding he is optimistic about the future of the district and community.

BISD board president Mark D. Emerson said, “Peter served BISD as superintendent since 2016, and I want to thank him for his leadership.”

Emerson also expressed confidence in his replacement. “The board is grateful for Amii’s willingness to step in, and we have the utmost confidence in her,” he said. “Relationship-building is at the core of her work and her student-focused leadership is in alignment with our District Improvement Plan.”

As for filling the role permanently, the board will wait about a year to begin the hiring process. A superintendent search is time-intensive, and a key aspect of the process is receiving input from students, staff and the community. Given all that BISD faces for the remainder of the school year with budget challenges and possible school closures and consolidations, the board does not feel BISD can do a meaningful search. As such, Thompson has agreed to continue as acting superintendent through the 2024-25 school year, a BISD news release says.

Thompson has worked at BISD for more than 20 years. Along with being assistant superintendent, Thompson worked in the district office as Elementary executive director of Teaching and Learning. Her work at BISD also includes principal at what is now x̌alilc Elementary for six years, working as an associate principal at Sakai Intermediate School and teaching first and second grades.

“I believe strongly in cultivating relationships by being present, listening and earning trust,” Thompson said. “Once school resumes in January, I plan to hit the ground running and will visit schools, staff and the meetings of multiple stakeholder groups. I want to ensure that all voices have a seat at the table, in particular those who have historically been marginalized or missing from the conversation. I look forward to getting to know the BISD community in a deeper and more meaningful way.”