Board Selects Familiar Face To Lead District

  • During a special board meeting on Wednesday, the Oak Harbor Public Schools Board of Directors announced the selection of Karst Brandsma as Interim Superintendent for the 2021-22 school year. 

    Karst Brandsma“We are excited to welcome Karst back to Oak Harbor to lead our district with his extensive knowledge of education in our region and state,” School Board President John Diamond said.  “He is an effective educator and leader with a proven track record in guiding districts, especially in an interim capacity. He will be a tremendous asset and provide the continuing stability our district needs for the coming school year.” 

    Brandsma returns to Oak Harbor where he served one year as Interim Assistant Superintendent during Superintendent Dr. Lance Gibbon’s first year.  Since his retirement in 2009, Brandsma has helped five school districts successfully transition to new superintendents. Recently, Brandsma served as Interim Superintendent for the South Kitsap School District. After serving one year, the South Kitsap School Board extended his contract two additional years before announcing his retirement. 

    “I am humbled to have been selected by the Board of Directors as the Interim Superintendent of Schools in Oak Harbor,” Brandsma said.  “I’m excited to come back to this special community. Oak Harbor Public Schools is very highly regarded, and I’ll make sure the great work being done here continues. I also look forward to supporting a successful superintendent selection and transition process.”

    A lifelong educator, Brandsma began his career as a teacher and coach in the Tumwater School District.  He later had stints as an administrator in Peninsula and Tacoma. A former Director of Secondary Education and Technology, Brandsma earned his superintendent credential from Seattle Pacific University in 1998.  Brandsma served as Deputy Superintendent of Everett Public Schools from 2001-2008 and then Interim Superintendent from 2008-09.

    Brandsma returns to Oak Harbor with a wealth of experience and knowledge in education. The Oak Harbor School Board worked with Northwest Leadership Associates, a highly regarded regional superintendent search firm, to help them navigate the selection process. The Board previously reviewed a list of applicants during an Executive Session and interviewed on Wednesday during a Special Meeting. 

    Brandsma’s contract will begin July 1, but the Board expressed interest in expediting his start to overlap with Dr. Gibbon to support a smooth transition.  The Board will continue its work with Northwest Leadership Associates to start the search process next fall and early winter for a permanent superintendent to lead Oak Harbor Public Schools.