Resignation approved; public not happy about payment

NK superintendent is being paid through June 30

The North Kitsap school board approved superintendent Laurynn Evans’ resignation effective June 30 at its meeting March 14.

Evans will remain on paid administration leave through June 30. She was placed on leave by the board following the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office filing a misdemeanor charge against her Feb. 21 for removing or defacing political advertising regarding her alleged involvement in the theft, damage and displacing of campaign signs that were opposed to the district’s recently failed bond measure.

At the board meeting, many community members spoke about Evans’ resignation.

“I would encourage you not to keep her on the payroll through the end of June…and to go ahead and sever ties now,” Carissa Burke said. “Save that money that you would have otherwise paid to help find our next rock star superintendent.”

Former school board member Catherine Ahl said: “Don’t we as a public, whose money is going towards supporting these schools, have a right to know if she’s going to paid a big bunch of money to leave? Why would you pay someone money who’s been accused of a crime to leave? You work for the public. The superintendent works for you.”

Kim Gerlach, one of the people who initially reported the campaign signs missing, said “I think we’re teaching our children that crime does pay in the North Kitsap School District.”

North Kitsap Education Association president Ted Jez had a more positive tone, emphasizing the need to help students prosper in the future. “I am cautiously optimistic and have a genuine desire to make North Kitsap a great place to live and learn,” he said. “Let’s work together and heal from past practices, stay true to our mission and help our students. Together, we can undo what has broken us.”

Jez also said the district should take a different approach in selecting the new superintendent, adding a search firm has “failed us the last three times. We need someone who is trustworthy, honest, sincere, caring, listens, collaborates transparently and puts the students first. Please remember, it’s about the kids. They’re why we do this.”

The criminal case against Evans may be dismissed in August after the judge in a Feb. 28 county District Court hearing approved a six-month pretrial diversion agreement between the state and defense counsel. Evans has been the district’s superintendent since 2017. Her contract was scheduled to run through June of 2026. Rachel Davenport, NKSD’s executive director of human resources, is serving as acting superintendent.

“I understand there may be questions about the board’s vote and Dr. Evans’ departure,” a March 14 statement from Davenport reads. “Because this is a personnel and legal matter, I ask for your understanding of the district’s decision not to comment further at this time. It is my hope that starting tonight, our district and our community can begin to shift our focus back to the incredible things happening in our schools.”

Davenport says in the statement that she knows the district has a lot of work to do. “I understand that there is work to be done to enhance community engagement and build trust. Our team and I look forward to the opportunity to connect with families and the community, better understand needs and priorities, and do what we do best: provide our students with an excellent education.”