Hickey to leave KPBSD for job in Colorado

Posted: Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Patrick Hickey, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District's assistant superintendent for business, has tendered his resignation.

He notified Superintendent Donna Peterson Thursday.

"I am really ambivalent," he said Monday, when he announced the decision publicly.

Hickey has overseen the district's finances, data processing, facilities, purchasing, warehouse and student nutrition services since taking the post in 1997. Much of his time has been taken up in the arduous task of the district's budget.

Peterson said Hickey is a good person and will be extremely tough to replace.

She praised his ability to relate to the public, legislators, the borough assembly and school board members. He has given the district a thoughtful perspective on doing business in today's world, she said.

Hickey will become the executive director for support services for the Douglas County School District in Castle Rock, Colo.

His resignation will not become official until the school board meets Monday. His last day on the job here has not been determined, but he will probably depart sometime in September, he said.

Peterson said the district does not yet have a plan for replacing him and may consider restructuring the central office team.

"We are currently discussing that. We do not have a plan yet. This is still new news for us," she said Monday.

His departure comes at a time of change for the district administration. Ed McLain, the assistant superintendent for instruction, and Mark Leal, the director of assessment, left during the summer to take positions with the state Department of Education and Early Development in Juneau.

Their positions have been filled with people promoted from within the district. Gary Whiteley, the former curriculum director, has replaced McLain. Sam Stewart, former principal of Kenai Central High School, and Paula Christensen, former assistant principal at Soldotna Middle School, will share the restructured positions Whiteley and Leal had held.

Peterson said that the district's tradition of hiring the best people and giving them opportunities for training makes them attractive targets for recruiters from elsewhere.

"We have such incredible people. Change is inevitable," she said.

Hickey stressed that he had not been searching for a new job, but the Colorado position offered personal and professional opportunities he could not pass up. He lived in the same part of Colorado prior to coming to Alaska in 1995 and still has family there.

"It is home to us. (My daughter) Katy was born down there," he said.

Hickey joined the Kenai Peninsula district four years ago during another time of change, when the state's early retirement program and restructuring shook up the top administration. He replaced the late Tom Thorpe.

Before coming to the peninsula, Hickey was business manager with the Kodiak Island Borough School District. In Colorado, his training was in business management and computers; his work experience included time with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, computer firms and the military.

Peterson said, "We wish him the best. We know our paths will cross again, and the team will go on."



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