McCallum headshot in front of middle school building

The Kalama School Board has unanimously selected Kalama Middle School (KMS) Principal Jennifer McCallum to serve as the district’s interim superintendent for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year. 

McCallum, who expects to return to her role as middle school principal once a permanent superintendent is hired, has 19 years of experience in education and has been with the district since 2018. 

“Over the years, Jennifer has demonstrated exemplary leadership, dedication, and a passion for fostering a positive learning environment for all students,” said Kalama School Board President Wesley Eader. “Her track record of success in supporting student achievement and promoting staff development makes her an ideal choice for interim superintendent.”

McCallum expressed both excitement and nervousness when asked about taking on the year-long interim position.

“I'm honored that the Board trusts me to lead our district while we continue our superintendent search next year,” she said. “I truly believe in Kalama and want to support the district to the best of my ability in whatever capacity I can.”

As interim superintendent, McCallum will be responsible for providing strategic leadership, overseeing day-to-day operations, and advancing the district's goals and initiatives. She will work closely with the administrative team, teachers, and staff to maintain Kalama School District's commitment to educational excellence and student success.

“We have been doing some really great work building a culture of care in Kalama,” said McCallum. “From restorative practices and tiered support systems, to increased community involvement and academic rigor, I want us to keep building on those foundations, which means continuing to focus on student success and growth, both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Eader noted that a work plan is currently in development “to ensure the middle school has a great leadership team in place,” and McCallum anticipates her continued presence in the building throughout much of the year.

“One of the things that I appreciate about Kalama is that as a small district, I will still be able to stay connected to my middle school students, staff and families,” said McCallum. “Yes, it may look different for this upcoming school year, but I will still be around. Not only that, but we have such a great middle school team that I know it will be a smooth transition. We will get the right people in the right places to help keep the middle school moving forward and growing stronger.”

Restarting the superintendent search

Now that the district’s interim superintendent is in place, the Kalama School Board is positioned to restart the search process for a permanent superintendent as soon as this fall. 

According to Eader, conducting the search earlier in the school year gives the Board more time to advertise the position and reach a larger number of candidates. It also allows the Board to better tailor its interview questions around the specific needs of the district.

The previous search process, which began in late April and ended in early June without a chosen finalist, was conducted on an abbreviated timeline due to the seasonality of the position. Incoming superintendents typically begin their work in-district on July 1.

“Our goal has always been to hire the best superintendent for Kalama, and we are confident that we will be able to do that, hopefully by next Spring Break,” he noted.