Blair Oaks Superintendent Jim Jones retired Thursday, according to an announcement from the district. Jones’ retirement announcement follows a nearly two-month-long leave of absence.
A May 3 message, signed by Board President Jason Paulsmeyer, announced the leave of absence and designated High School Principal Chris Marshall as acting superintendent. Paulsmeyer said around that time that the decision to approve the leave of absence was made at a closed meeting the day before, but he has since declined to say whether the leave of absence was requested by Jones or by the board and what the reason for the leave was.
At the time, Paulsmeyer said he did not “have a clear picture” of how long the leave could be.
Jones’ retirement comes after 23 years in Blair Oaks, 19 of which were spent as superintendent.
“The Board of Education wishes Dr. Jones the best in his newest endeavors and appreciates his service to the District,” the announcement states.
Paulsmeyer said Jones’ retirement was accepted Thursday during the closed portion of the board meeting.
“It was not a surprise, but we didn’t know for sure if it was coming until it was yesterday evening,” Paulsmeyer said. He would not comment on the reason for Jones’ retirement.
Asked if he anticipated offering further comment on the leave of absence in the near future, Paulsmeyer said additional public documents would become available following the meeting that could offer detail, but the board would likely not comment much beyond what it already has.
Marshall will continue as acting superintendent until an interim superintendent is hired, according to the announcement. The board will then conduct a “full search” for the next superintendent. The letter says details about the search process will be provided soon.
Paulsmeyer said the board’s vision is to bring in an interim superintendent for the upcoming school year to help see the district through the year and allow Marshall to focus on his duties as a high school principal. The board would also begin searching for a permanent superintendent for the 2023-2024 school year.
Kimberley Walters has moved into the assistant superintendent role as of today, as had been announced earlier this year.
Paulsmeyer said he suspects candidates for interim superintendent will likely be external because administrators are already occupied with their roles, but for the permanent position, he expects to see internal and external candidates.
Jones offered a retirement statement remarking on his 31 years in education via email.
“I have been blessed to serve in one of the greatest communities in the world,” he wrote. The statement did not reference his leave of absence.
“I want to thank everyone for making my last 23 years some of the best for not only me but our entire family,” he later said. “As our family moves forward into life’s next journey, some things may change, but the one thing that will remain constant is ‘We are Blair Oaks!’”