New Ki-Be school board member elected acting superintendent

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 27, 2014 

The Kiona-Benton City School Board accepted the resignation of one of its own at its Monday meeting, then appointed him as the district's acting superintendent.

Wade Haun, who was elected to the board in November, will serve as superintendent from Feb. 3 to June 30 while a permanent replacement for former superintendent Rom Castilleja is sought.

Castilleja resigned during a closed-door school board session last week. He is on sabbatical until June 30 and will have no further duties but will continue to be paid.

Haun defeated 10-year incumbent Dan Raap in the November 2013 election. At the time, Haun said he was running because of personnel issues in the district, particularly those involving teachers and administrators. He also said the district needed more transparency in its dealings and a better environment for teachers and students.

Haun has served as a manager in the banking industry but is now a bookkeeper and print specialist at the BIG Print Shop in Benton City, according to Herald archives.

Haun could not be reached for comment Monday.

The board also accepted the resignations of Charlie Hobbick, who was head high school football coach for five years, and Roy Freeman, a school psychologist.

Haun's appointment was announced after a 30-minute closed door session. It was greeted with applause from much of the audience of more than 50 people at the meeting.

But some in the audience were not happy with the payment Castilleja is getting.

"It seems like a waste of $80,000 to buy out the contract, I mean sabbatical leave, when it could go to the kids," former board member Jill Renz-Whitman said during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Others discussed an investigation of a middle school teacher, who is being allowed to continue teaching despite allegations of possible inappropriate material on his computer.

Shelley Goldstein, a nurse at Kadlec Regional Medical Center, said she is worried about her daughter who attends the school.

"If someone was to accuse me of doing something wrong, I would be suspended until the state determined that I can come back to work," she said.

But Stephanie Adamson is comfortable with her daughter in the teacher's class, she said.

"I feel perfectly happy with her there," she said. "She's not threatened in any way."

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543;; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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