Art Himmler, who led the Steilacoom School District for 15 years before becoming superintendent of the Omak School District three years ago, was killed in a car accident Thursday morning.
Himmler, 68, was driving south on state Route 97 in north-central Washington, just south of Pateros, when his vehicle went off the road, Omak School Board chairman Wendell George told The Wenatchee World.
He said he didnt know what caused the accident. A Washington State Patrol report had not been issued as of Thursday afternoon.
Himmler's colleagues back in Pierce County struggled with the news.
Former Steilacoom administrator John Cohen worked with Himmler for eight years in Steilacoom and, before that, in Carbonado, where Himmler was superintendent from 1990 to 1994.
Cohen said Himmler was instrumental in bringing online education to Steilacoom and expanding the Washington Virtual Academy (WAVA) to students statewide.
He was my mentor, Cohen said. He was a people person who was exceedingly supportive of his staff groundskeepers, principals, whoever. He will be sorely missed on both sides of the mountains.
Himmler was only the fifth superintendent in the Steilacoom districts 154-year history and worked there from 1994 to 2009. In a statement, the district credited Himmler with building or remodeling of all the districts facilities and for returning financial solvency to the district at a challenging time.
He started his career teaching music in the Chicago area and later worked as a principal in the San Juan Islands.