On July 1, 2018, when Jay Hummel stepped into the job as Interim School Superintendent of the Wallowa School District, he brought 40 years of experience and a love of rural communities with him. At the end of June, Hummel will step aside after serving two years as the Interim superintendent.
The Wallowa School Board has been looking long and hard for a worthy successor. In the past weeks, they interviewed three applicants, all of whom were familiar with eastern Oregon and rural schools, according to school board chairman Woody Wolfe. But none of those applicants had the background, experience or other factors that the board deemed essential for the job.
“We are going to have to start the search process over again,” said board member Matt Howard. “This is why we started the application and interview process early. Now we have time for a second round.”
The board will re-advertise the position, with the intention of interviewing more applicants in late February or early March.
Hummel’s all-too-brief tenure has included guiding the school district through the beginning of a significant upgrade to its facilities, hiring three new teachers that he deems excellent additions to an already top-notch staff, and of course, working with the school board as they search for a permanent hire.
He plans to return to his home in the Treasure Valley, Idaho, where his wife of 40 years, Beth, works in veterinary management, and his son, a veterinarian, runs his own clinic. Hummel has deep roots in the educational community there after working as a top administrator in the Kuna, Idaho schools, as well as teaching and coaching in the area.
“I’m sure I’ll find something to do,” he said. “I won’t be bored.”