Brian Auckland has been named the new superintendent of Lopez Island School District.In August of 2014, Auckland was hired as the interim elementary principal and special services director, replacing Lisa Shelby who has returned to Alaska. Auckland’s aunt lives on Lopez so he visited the island often throughout his life. What drew him to the “friendly isle” was Bill Evans who he met about 15 years ago. Auckland was looking for a place to fulfill his superintendent internship and thought Evans would be an ideal mentor.
“His genuineness, his caring and deep commitment to student learning and the fact that you can count on Bill to keep students first is what I respected about him and want to follow,” said Auckland.
In December, the staff recommended Auckland for the position of superintendent as Evans had turned in his resignation. In January the school board asked for Auckland to apply for the position.
“It’s a natural fit. I enjoy the staff and kids,” said Auckland. “And the board is supportive … It’s just a good fit.”
Auckland’s wife and two kids, a fourth grade son and second grade daughter, still live in Arlington, Wash., and he sees them on the weekends. His family plans on moving to the island in June.
Auckland takes this position in the aftermath of a few big changes at the school. Evans resigned last April, but stayed in the position until his replacement was found.
At the time Evans cited financial oversight as his main reason for stepping down, writing in a press release to the Weekly that, “We need a superintendent whose skills include a high degree of financial savvy.”
The new superintendent describes himself as “number- oriented.” Auckland has been an administrator for more than ten years. He worked at an elementary with more than 700 kids and large budgets.
“I’ve always kept a balanced budget,” said Auckland.
He also comes to the district in the wake of the November election where voters passed a $9.6-million capital projects bond. The bond represents significant revisions from the $16.5-million renovation project proposed in 2013, which did not meet with voter approval. School officials say the bond will provide sufficient funding for critical upgrades and renovations to meet basic safety, health and educational standards, by reducing originally proposed new additions and site improvements, trimming back on refurbishment of classrooms, and eliminating original plans for water catchment for irrigation.
With these changes on the horizon, Auckland said his goal is to listen and ask questions to find out what the community truly needs.
Auckland said he got into the education business because he has always loved watching kids learn.
“It’s a gift to teach kids how to learn everything from sports to the arts,” said Auckland. “That is at the heart of what I do – a passion for student learning.”