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News Release
Current Columbia Superintendent, Dr. Lou Gates
Current Columbia Superintendent, Dr. Lou Gates
Columbia School District Superintendent Announces Retirement (Photo) - 11/28/17

BURBANK, WA -- At their regular meeting on November 27, 2017, the Columbia Burbank School Board accepted the planned retirement of Superintendent Dr. Lou Gates, effective with the end of his current contract on June 30, 2018.

Dr. Gates joined the Columbia School District in 2008, with over 40 years in education. Throughout his career, he served in numerous positions, including middle school teacher, reading specialist, principal, curriculum coordinator, collegiate instructor, researcher and writer.

Under the leadership of Dr. Gates, and thanks to the board, administrative team, staff, students and community, the district has made numerous improvements, including the development of a park-like campus that included planting trees along Jantz and Maple Streets. Columbia also has developed and published the innovative Unified Instructional Core framework; improved campus security; built new football bleachers; and passed a bond for upgrading and adding classrooms and a gym to the elementary school. According to Columbia Board Chair, Michael Scrimsher, the passage of this bond by a sizeable margin is a good indicator of the patrons' confidence in the leadership of the district.

"Under Dr. Gates' leadership, our district has continued to increase academic expectation and performance of our students," reflects Scrimsher. "His leadership, as it relates to the district's financial stability, has been very good, and the district now has a predictable budget cycle and an appropriate fund balance for a rainy day. Our school board wishes Dr. Gates a happy and long retirement from his career in education, and is most grateful for his service to the district."

The search process to find a successor for Dr. Gates is officially underway. The school board selected Educational Service District 123 in Pasco to lead the district's search efforts.

ESD 123 Superintendent, Mr. Darcy Weisner, says he is greatly appreciative of Dr. Gates' service to Columbia and the ESD 123 region.

"Dr. Gates' calculated, rational approach to decision-making is a valuable trait for a superintendent," states Weisner. "As the ESD superintendent, I especially appreciated his ability to provide insight and perspective to some problematic state and local initiatives, and I am thankful for his service and dedication."

The official vacancy announcement and position posting can be found on the ESD's website at, and the application deadline is February 2, 2018. Following preliminary interviews and screenings, final candidates are expected to be interviewed in early March, with a decision and offer made by March 26, 2018. For more information, contact Mr. Darcy Weisner at 509.544.5785.