Superintendent Mark Ross retired in June 2021. This is an archived column.

March 2019

Superintendent Mark Ross

Grateful to School Board

When I became superintendent of the Battle Ground School District in July 2017, I appreciated many things about the district that were already in place. First, was the amazingly hard working people employed in the district office. From the front office staff to Human Resources, the Business Office and the Teaching and Learning Department, it truly was and is today a group of individuals who care deeply for students and go above and beyond the call of duty to make Battle Ground a great place to work.

I also greatly appreciated that this “can do” spirit and concern for the welfare of students extended to not only building teachers and staff but most importantly for me to a group of individuals I work very closely with, the Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors.

As a superintendent, it’s important to have a positive working relationship with your school board. Not only because they evaluate your performance and determine your employment status, but also because having a shared vision and direction for the district that you can agree on is critical to move the district forward.

I was very fortunate as a new superintendent to inherit a veteran school board with members who had served the district for many years. Several of our directors were not only long-standing members of our local school board, but they had also participated at the highest level for the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) as executive board members, legislative representatives and committee members. In addition, Battle Ground has been well represented for the past few years when the state legislature has convened as our board members have made sure to involve themselves in discussions with local lawmakers on issues that concern our district.

To serve on the board of directors means giving much more than three or four hours every other week to school board meetings. It also requires countless hours for community meetings, school events, fundraisers, conferences, etc. We are blessed with board members in this district who work tirelessly at a position that provides very minimal compensation because they care so deeply about student academic success and social-emotional well-being.

Because a superintendent relies so heavily on having a great relationship with board members and on working so closely together, it is difficult when a board member decides to leave their position. In Battle Ground, two board members are leaving their director roles.

Both Ken Root and Mavis Nickels have decided that their time serving on the board has come to an end. These two individuals have each served eight years representing not only their respective districts, but all of the schools and students of Battle Ground Public Schools. I can’t thank them enough for their service and dedication to our district. They have given up time with their families and spent countless hours doing the hard but critically important work of ensuring that the mission of supporting all students and staff is carried out by myself and the district office.

Mavis and Ken would most likely agree that the work has not always been easy, and the decisions they made perhaps not always popular with everyone, but that is why I so deeply appreciate the courage they and other board members have shown when making difficult decisions for the sake of doing what is best for kids.

I know that as a board we will carry on and find other dedicated citizens willing to take their place, but for now, a grateful superintendent would like to say thank you to Ken and Mavis for their hard work, insights, humor and dedication to the vision of success for all students.


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Brush Prairie, WA 98606

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Battle Ground, WA 98604



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