School chief signs up for another year, because “work keeps happening”

He always finds his way back.

After working 54 years in education, 31 of them as a superintendent, Dr. Art Jarvis finally chose to retire in 2007.

Or so he thought. Since his first retirement from the Enumclaw School District, Jarvis has taken on four jobs as an interim superintendent in various districts, including his current job at the Peninsula School District.

“I was not planning on working, I was planning on being retired,” Jarvis said last week. “But work seems to keep happening.”

The Peninsula School Board renewed Jarvis’s contract as interim superintendent for another year on June 27. The board will begin a search for a permanent superintendent this summer.

Jarvis’s second career dates back to 2007, when he took a job as interim superintendent at Tacoma Public Schools. The job was supposed to last a year. He ended up working there for five years.

Jarvis then re-retired, but came out of retirement again shortly after to be the interim superintendent at Shelton for a year, then at Renton for two years.

Before coming to Tacoma, Jarvis served as chief financial officer for the Seattle School District from January through July 2007. Before that, he served 11 years as superintendent in the Enumclaw School District, 11 years as superintendent of South Whidbey Island School District), 12 years as assistant superintendent in Enumclaw, two years as special education consultant for Seattle schools and as a teacher in Walla Walla Couny and Enumclaw.

He is now heading into his second year as interim superintendent at Peninsula.

“I wasn’t intending on having a full-time career being an interim but I am glad I am able to help — that’s the reason I do it,” Jarvis said. “I enjoy the work. It is good work with good people.”

“As long as my health has held up, I can be of assistance,” he said.

Jarvis helped fashion a bond issue to fix overcrowding in the district’s elementary schools

The Peninsula board was looking to pass a bond to fix overcrowding in the district’s elementary schools. An issue such as this has not been passed in the district for 15 years, with Peninsula failing six consecutive times.

The bond Jarvis constructed passed in February with 67 percent voter approval. This $198 million bond will see two new elementary schools built and two others reconstructed.

It was his experience with capital projects that made Jarvis the favored candidate in 2018. Jarvis said it has been his good fortune to work in a number of districts that needed capital projects, although none with as great a need as Peninsula’s.

“I have done pretty significant work in almost every district throughout my career, but I do think Peninsula was the maximum of that need, as they had failed six consecutive issues and fell further and further behind,” Jarvis said.

Peninsula School Board President Deborah Krishnadasan said the board feels confidence in Jarvis’ ability to lead the district toward success in the next year.

“We as a board are thrilled to have Dr. Jarvis on board and look forward to empowering staff and students by investing in the future of our community,” Krishnadasan said.

Krishnadasan said she believes the board’s intent is to find a new, full-time superintendent for next year. This idea will be discussed at the board’s retreat in August.