After a unanimous vote to approve Washburn’s resignation agreement and greenlight contract negotiations with Springston, board President Carrie Kroll thanked the superintendent for his service.
“It has been a pleasure working with you. I know that you have had big goals, and we have found that all of this in the middle of a pandemic is rather daunting, but I have appreciated the way that you have acknowledged the hard work and walked by and supported all of our employees,” Kroll said. “Thank you for your heart and your service to our community.”
Washburn joined DSISD as superintendent in Nov. 2019 following a months-long search to replace former district superintendent Bruce Gearing, who left to serve as superintendent at Leander ISD before the start of the 2019-20 school year. Washburn formerly served as an associate superintendent at Eanes ISD.
A statement from Washburn and the district cited family health matters as the reason for his departure.
"The superintendent's role is exceptionally demanding and requires a leader's full devotion of days, energy and talent to the board, students, staff and community. Over the past 11 months, I have given my heart and soul to honor this responsibility. Like many of you, family health circumstances during the pandemic have caused me to pause and re-evaluate my professional and personal priorities," Washburn wrote. "After reflecting on and discussing these professional and personal contrasts with my family, I have conceded it is in the best interest of students, teachers, staff and community for me to permanently step away from the superintendent's role."
A statement from the board of trustees acknowledged that the unexpected conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in Washburn's exit.
"We appreciate [Washburn's] efforts since March to ensure that learning hasn’t been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic," read the board's statement. "For Mr. Washburn, as a first-time superintendent, transitioning during a pandemic proved to be difficult. Given all available alternatives, the Board believes this decision to be the best path forward for DSISD."
Washburn's resignation will be effective at the end of the current semester; however, he will take a personal leave of absence "in the near term," according to a statement from the district. Springston is slated to begin his role later this week and continue through the end of the school year while the district searches for a permanent replacement.
Kroll praised Springston's 36 years of experience in education as an asset for the district's leadership transition in a district statement.
"Brett Springston is familiar with interim superintendent positions and understands the importance of supporting school districts during times of transition,” she said. "He is well aware of the challenges facing public education during the COVID[-19] pandemic and has the skill set necessary to guide DSISD during this unprecedented time."