Seattle Public Schools is considering bringing back a former administrator as interim superintendent following Superintendent Denise Juneau’s decision to leave her position this summer.
The Seattle School Board is expected to vote Wednesday whether to negotiate a contract with Brent Jones, the district’s former head of equity, partnerships and engagement.
If the board approves its motion, School Board members would still need to negotiate and vote on Jones’ contract. He would be expected to start no later than July 1, stay on in the interim role until June 30, 2022, and would not be a candidate for the permanent position.
If he’s hired, this would be his third stint at SPS. Jones, 53, first joined the district in 2008 before leaving in 2010 for a position at the Kent School District, according to his résumé. He returned to SPS in 2014, and left in July 2019 for an administrative job at King County Metro Transit.
During his most recent tenure at SPS, Jones served in the superintendent’s cabinet, oversaw several departments and led a series of projects and partnerships devoted to improving racial equity. He was a crucial voice in conversations about how to improve education for the district’s African American boys.
Juneau, after three years with the district, announced on Dec. 8 that she would step down from her position. The decision came a day after School Board members told her it was unlikely she’d have enough support to renew her contract.
In a memo about the proposal to hire Jones, board President Chandra Hampson said that the board’s alternatives include delaying negotiations until closer to Juneau’s departure, or beginning a community engagement process before moving ahead with an interim hire.
She urged her fellow members to push ahead. “Delaying contract negotiations puts the Board at risk of not having a Superintendent ready to assume leadership upon Superintendent Juneau’s departure, and is not in the best interest of the District from either a fiscal or a human capital perspective,” she wrote.
Seattle Times researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.