By SVERRE BAKKE
Citing a "health scare" earlier this spring, White Salmon Superintendent of Schools Dale F. Palmer submitted his letter of resignation last week, at the end of the White Salmon Valley School District's monthly board of directors meeting.
In the letter, Palmer announced his intention to retire when his current contract expires on June 30. According to Palmer, the school board has a plan for dealing with his resignation and will discuss it during its June 17 business meeting.
Palmer, 55, has spent 31 of his 32 years in the education profession with the White Salmon Valley School District. The Kalama native came to work in White Salmon in 1978 as a special education teacher at Columbia High School.
Palmer later earned his administrator's credentials and, following stints as assistant principal at Wayne M. Henkle Middle School and CHS, moved up to become principal of Hulan L. Whitson Elementary school in 1991. Then, in 2000, the school board named him the district's interim superintendent. The "interim" label went away a few months later when the school board appointed him to the post full time.
Wrote Palmer in his letter of resignation: "I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of my experiences in this great district. I feel as though I have made a difference in each of my many positions, but feel it is now important to take my life in other directions ... Thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to lead this fantastically talented staff as we worked to make White Salmon an outstanding place for kids."
Palmer apologized to board members Kris Kreps, Kristie Hurn, Jeff Cooper, and Paul Mosbrucker (director Tom Stevenson was absent) for tendering his resignation so late in the school year, especially in light of the fact the board granted his request for a two-year contract extension in January.
"I fully intended to work one or two more years," Palmer noted. However, "a health scare that occurred in late March of this year, that turned out to be only stress and anxiety -- must have had something to do with the budget crisis in the state," prompted Palmer to give retirement greater consideration.
In the final issue, Palmer, in consultation with his wife, Cindy, determined it would be best for his personal health -- as well as best for the district's financial health -- if he retired.
The resulting savings from reduced administrative costs, Palmer reasoned in his resignation, will lessen the need to lay off more employees in order to balance the district's 2009-10 budget.
Palmer's resignation was one of five the school board acted on during the May 20 meeting. It also accepted the resignations of Robert Joe Cates, CHS math teacher; Tabitha Trosper, Whitson para-educator; Rick Freil, Wayne M. Henkle Middle School wrestling coach; and Dan Smith, Henkle football coach.