Just as high school graduates reminisce about their years together with classmates, so did retiring Pasco Superintendent Saundra Hill during a Thursday farewell ceremony for her and retiring Assistant Superintendent Liz Flynn.
Flynn was unable to attend because of an obligation but that didn’t stop Hill from singing Flynn’s praises and then choking up about all their years working together in education and the bond it created.
“Now you and I are here together as we enter the next phase,” Hill said. “You are and will remain an inspiration to me and someone I look up to.”
Hill started working in the district in 1982 as a teacher in a migrant resource room. She was on the hiring committee that selected Flynn to be a bilingual teacher’s aide in 1984.
Both became administrators, with Hill being named superintendent in 2002. The district’s enrollment has nearly doubled during her tenure. Her 14 years at the district’s helm included the opening of numerous schools and the establishment of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, education and two-way dual language program, as well as a teacher’s strike last fall.
“I went and gave her a hug. I think she’s done a fantastic job,” said Mike Miller, former chairman of citizens’ bond and levy committee.
Flynn worked with Hill to overhaul the district’s approach with English language learner students, leading to improved academic performance and graduation rates. She was courted over the years by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to become a state-level official but chose to remain in Pasco.
“They will be terribly missed by the district,” said Assistant Superintendent Glenda Cloud. “They are wonderful people.”