School board picks Colfax man as new superintendent

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SNOQUALMIE - Joel Aune of Colfax Public Schools has been chosen as the new superintendent of the Snoqualmie Valley School District (SVSD).

The SVSD Board of Directors voted unanimously to hire the 44-year-old Colfax superintendent during a special meeting on Feb. 23.

Aune's contract with SVSD will be approved March 3 and he will start his new position July 1 following the departure of Rich McCullough, SVSD superintendent of 17 years. McCullough will be teaching part time at Western Washington University in the institution's new superintendent certification program next fall.

School board member Kristy Sullivan said she thought Aune was the best "cultural fit" out of the three finalists for the position.

"We had three great candidates and I felt any of them would have been great for the district, but that [Aune] was the best fit in terms of where we see the district going in the future," Sullivan said. "He's a rising star and we are, too."

Aune has been superintendent of Colfax Schools since 1998. Prior to that he did a superintendent internship in the Walla Walla School District and was an elementary-school principal in Walla Walla as well. He's also been an assistant principal at the middle-school level and has taught fourth and sixth grades.

"We're really looking forward to relocating to the community," Aune said. "I'm really, really looking forward to becoming a part of the Snoqualmie Valley School District. I'm extremely excited and very grateful the board selected me to succeed Rich. He's held in such high regard and has done such a great job there."

The father of three has one 24-year-old, a college freshman and a fourth grader. Aune said he plans to become better acquainted with the SVSD staff and community throughout the spring, while still ensuring Colfax has a smooth transition into its superintendent search during the busiest time of the school year.

"Right now I'm looking at really coming in and doing a lot of observing, listening and getting to know people both on staff and in the community," Aune said. "I've just been really impressed with all aspects of the school district beginning with the board of directors through community support, facilities, programs and staff."

Aune was born and raised in the Colfax area. He did his undergraduate work at Eastern Washington University, received his master's degree in education from Central Washington University and got his doctorate of education at Washington State University.

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