The Yakima School District Board of Directors has appointed Jack Irion to replace Elaine Beraza as superintendent, the district announced Friday morning.

Irion was among three finalists who underwent extensive public interviews with the district. Assuming he clears a routine background check, he'll take over on July 1 for Beraza, who is retiring.

Here's the full text of a Friday news release from the district, announcing the board's decision:

"The Yakima School District Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jack Irion as its next Superintendent.

"Dr. Irion has served as Deputy Superintendent in the district since 1997.  His most recent duties include overseeing secondary education, district athletics and district policies and procedures.  People who know him and have worked with him for many years consistently cite Dr. Irion as a leader who thinks critically, solves problems, collaborates, and communicates.  He has a clear vision, strong team-building skills, and the ability to listen to others.  The Yakima Board unanimously believes that Dr. Irion is precisely the right person to take the Yakima School District to the next level as a world-class district, building on the fine work done by our current superintendent, staff, parents and students.

"Dr. Irion spent a day this week interviewing in the district on February 11.  In addition to meeting with the board on that day, Dr. Irion responded to questions from a variety of stakeholders including community members, parents, staff and students.  He visited Barge-Lincoln Elementary School where he enthusiastically interacted with students and staff.  At all forums the board received positive feedback on Dr. Irion's personal interaction and educational expertise.

"The Yakima School District Board of Directors has endeavored to make its superintendent recruiting process as open as possible.  The board has taken its job of recruiting the next Yakima Superintendent very seriously, and recognizes that this is among the most important tasks that the board members will ever accomplish during their tenure.

"It's important to recognize as well that this process has in many ways validated that the Yakima School District is on the cutting edge.  Our high rate of improvement in student achievement over the past 6 years, implementation of interventions and processes based on the best educational research, highly qualified and committed staff at all levels, and strong parent and community support all enabled us to attract superintendent candidates of the highest caliber from around the state and around the country.

"Dr. Jack Irion is currently serving as Deputy Superintendent in the district.  Dr. Irion's appointment as Superintendent of Yakima Schools is subject a background check and successful contract negotiations in accordance with parameters established by the board, and final approval of the contract by the Board."

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