Forgoing a lengthy search process, the Kelso School Board has appointed Mary Beth Tack, the district’s former director of teaching and learning, to replace outgoing superintendent Glenn Gelbrich.

Gelbrich announced his plans to retire in November.

After meeting with district employees earlier this month, search consultants had presented school board members with a choice between casting a wide net or first considering a select group of viable candidates.

Tack, a long-time district employee, started her career in 1991 as a math teacher at Kelso High School. In 1998, she became assistant principal there before joining the district’s administrative team in 2001.

Tack became director of secondary education in 2007 and was promoted to director of teaching and learning in 2011. She took the current school year off to focus on her family, according to the release. But prior to this year, Tack worked continuously for the district for 25 years.

“Hiring Mary Beth Tack is comparable to striking gold in our own backyard,” Kelso School Board President Bob Lucas said Friday in a press release.

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The board is expected to approve a new contract for Tack at its Feb. 5 board meeting.

Gelbrich earned a total salary of $177,748 in 2016-2017, according to public records.

Gelbrich’s retirement will be effective in June.

“Although the departure of Superintendent Gelbrich will leave a hole in our leadership, Mrs. Tack will fill this void with her unbridled enthusiasm, job knowledge, and persistent ‘can-do’ attitude,” Kelso High School Principal John Gummel said in the release.

The Kelso teachers union also signaled its approval of the hire Friday.

“Decades of honing her craft as an educator in the classroom, as a principal, and as the curriculum director for the Kelso School District has helped to catapult Mary Beth Tack, one of our best and brightest, into the distinctive role as our new leader.”

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