Tacoma Public Schools chief operating officer announces 2015 retirement

Tacoma News TribuneMay 13, 2014 

Sam Bell, chief operating officer for Tacoma Public Schools, has announced he will retire Dec. 31, 2015.

Beginning in July, Stephen Murakami, the school district’s current planning and construction director, will begin a step-by-step transition into the role of chief operating officer, Superintendent Carla Santorno announced Tuesday. 

The chief operating officer oversees planning and construction, transportation, nutrition services and facilities maintenance. 

“It’s unusual in education to plan ahead like this when you lose a key member of the leadership team with a lot of experience and influence,” Santorno said. “I’m proud that we’re able to make the transition smoothly over time – especially with all of the school construction projects underway. A forward-thinking approach like this ensures continuity and continued progress on all of our projects.”

Bell started his 40-plus year career in a public school district near New Orleans . He joined Tacoma Public Schools in July 1998. 

Murakami will become the executive director of facilities beginning July 1 and oversee both facilities maintenance and planning and construction. Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, he will assume oversight of transportation and nutrition services.


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