Bill Yester

North Bend School District Superintendent Bill Yester speaks during a North Bend School Board meeting in 2017.

NORTH BEND — The North Bend School District has begun its search for a new superintendent.

Outgoing Superintendent Bill Yester has announced his retirement at the end of this school year, giving the district time to replace him.

During Monday night’s regular school board meeting, Business Manager Sherri O’Connor updated the board on the search, beginning with hiring a consultant to help the board.

“It is a national search,” said Juliana Seldon after the meeting, interim chairwoman for the board. “We’re at the beginning stages, but anticipate for the search to take a year.”

According to O’Connor’s report to the board, she provided a list of consultants and has already sent out six requests for proposals. So far, four have responded.

“We will go over proposals this week,” she said.

Seldon said that the board will make a vote on the consultant on Oct. 8.

“I’m very sad to see him go,” Seldon said of Yester’s retirement. “Yester came to us at a time when we needed someone who knew a lot about our district, who was honest, hardworking and had staff support. He has been that way for us his whole tenure and we are sad to lose him, but I’m happy for him to go onto retirement and enjoy the next part of his life.”

Yester has been with the district since 2005, where he began as the assistant principal at North Bend High School. He moved up to be the superintendent five years ago.

“I’m a year over when I wanted to retire,” Yester told The World after the meeting. “I’m going to be 66 years old in January.”

After working in education for 43 years, Yester says “it’s time.”

“I considered it last summer and talked with the board about it and decided in early fall to stay on one more year, which is this year,” he said. “There is some melancholy with it.”

The announcement comes during a time when the district is still working to fill settlement requirements agreed on with the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, which came after former high school principal Bill Lucero was accused of using the Bible as punishment on at least one student.

However, Seldon is grateful that Yester is giving the district time to conduct a search.

“We have great things going on in this district,” she said. “We have challenges just like anyone else, but I know the right person is out there to keep us great and move us on to where we need to go and meet all those new challenges.”

When asked what she would like to see in the new superintendent, she said, “Personally, I just want someone who will bring integrity and also forward-thinking to the district.”

The World is following the ongoing superintendent search.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.