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Pendleton School District superintendent resigns

Andy Kovach, hired in July, will stay on for rest of school year during search for replacement
Antonio Sierra

East Oregonian

Published on February 13, 2017 7:38PM

Last changed on February 13, 2017 10:25PM

Andy Kovach

Andy Kovach

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Seven months into the job, superintendent Andy Kovach announced his resignation from the Pendleton School District.

The Pendleton School Board unanimously accepted his resignation at a meeting Tuesday. His resignation is effective June 30, giving the board time to find a replacement before the new school year.

“My resignation is for personal reasons and this decision was made in consultation with my family,” he said in a prepared statement toward the end of the meeting.

In a brief interview after the meeting, Kovach declined to elaborate on the reason for his departure.

Board chairwoman Debbie McBee thanked Kovach for his service but didn’t comment further during the meeting. No other board members made statements either.

Kovach’s sudden resignation comes a few weeks after the school board met with him behind closed doors to discuss his mid-year evaluation, the latest of three “executive session” meetings the board held to talk about Kovach’s job performance since he started July 1.

In a previous interview, board chairwoman Debbie McBee said the numerous discussions were meant to provide as much feedback as possible for the first-time superintendent.

Kovach was set to participate in two more closed-door meetings in March and May, the latter being the district’s standard year-end evaluation.

A public records request by the East Oregonian for Kovach’s mid-year evaluation is still pending.

Prior to being hired by the Pendleton School District, Kovach had 25 years experience as a teacher and administrator in Crane, Nyssa and Ontario. Kovach had been the principal of Ontario High School for four years before coming to Pendleton.

Kovach has a bachelor’s degree in history from Oregon State University and a master’s degree in teaching from Willamette University.

During the hiring process to replace the retiring Jon Peterson as superintendent, Kovach was one of three finalists for the position, which also featured Hermiston deputy superintendent Wade Smith and Pendleton assistant superintendent Tricia Mooney. Smith and Mooney have since taken positions as the Walla Walla Public Schools superintendent and Hermiston assistant superintendent, respectively.

Kovach’s departure is a shake-up for a position that has long been a source of stability. In the 25 years before Kovach was hired, only three people held the superintendent position.

Kovach was in the midst of a three-year contract which paid $127,500 per year.

With his departure looming, Kovach planned to stay busy between now and July 1.

“Looking forward, I will continue to lead Pendleton School District through the spring and to give my best in serving its students,” he said. “There is a lot of work to be done both in the classroom and at the district level. This includes completing a strategic plan mapping out the school district’s future.”

The board agreed to meet Feb. 20 to declare a superintendent vacancy and begin planning the process of finding Kovach’s replacement.

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Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.



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