University Place School Board names new superintendent

University Place Schools had one candidate to replace long-serving school superintendent Patti Banks. And he will take over the job on July 1.

Jeff Chamberlin, currently the district’s deputy superintendent, will succeed Banks, who is the dean of all Pierce County school superintendents in her 19th year on the job. She will retire at the end of the school year.

The school board named Chamberlin to the post Wednesday, but board President Mary Lu Dickinson said the board still needs to negotiate a contract with him.

Chamberlin, 45, has been with the 5,600-student University Place School District since 2006.

“My plan is to do everything possible to continue the outstanding results the district expects and has been getting for some time,” Chamberlin said after the board meeting.

Banks, who first hired Chamberlin as principal at Curtis Junior High, praised his intelligence, integrity, work ethic and sense of humor. Board members were also effusive in their praise.

Dickinson said Chamberlin had strong support from members of the school district staff.

Board member Annie Fitzsimmons added: “Those who have worked most closely as subordinates of his, as well as his peers, had nothing but praise to share.”

The school board held three “listening sessions,” asking the public and staff members what they wanted in a new superintendent. The board also conducted an online survey to gather staff and community input.

Board members did not conduct a national or regional search for a superintendent, but instead focused internally. Chamberlin was the only applicant.

Board member Ethelda Burke said board members put Chamberlin through a “grueling interview,” but that he answered questions in a way that assured her the district will continue to move forward.