When Kevin Bogatin threw his hat in the ring to serve as Tumwater School District’s next superintendent, he was struck by the closeknit ties of local community members, parents, alumni and students. “I hear it referred to as ‘family’,” Bogatin says of the district. “People talk about it that way. People have been taught here, lived here and come back here. There are a lot of deep connections to community. It is also a growing community. Part of my role will be helping those who are new to Tumwater feel as welcomed into the ‘family’ as I have felt.”
The school board unanimously selected Bogatin as superintendent on March 9. He officially begins on July 1, although he has already hit the ground running by communicating with stakeholders. “I have a lot of family to meet,” he says. “It’s relationship building.”
Tumwater School Board Selects Bogatin From Three Finalists
School Board President Scott Killough says the district was honored to have 17 people apply for the superintendent position, and the three finalists were all highly qualified. Killough says Bogatin’s combination of educational knowledge and operational skills, plus his focus on students and stakeholders, impressed the board.
“When you prioritize relationships from the beginning, that helps set the groundwork for respectful relationships and processes,” Killough says. “We can’t wait to have him in the district.”
Bogatin Brings Experienced Leadership to Tumwater School District
Bogatin is currently the superintendent of the North Bend School District in Oregon. He and his wife Cameo, who has a business administration background, will be moving to Thurston County for his job.
He brings a depth of experience to the Tumwater School District. Bogatin taught in elementary schools in Oregon and Arizona for five years. He was an assistant superintendent for eight years in a Corvallis school district, and a school principal for 10 years. Bogatin holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa.
Bogatin says that his education outlook broadened as he moved from teacher to principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. He says his first perspective was from a classroom, then from a school, and later a district. “When you are superintendent, your perspective grows,” he says. “You look at where the school district intersects with the community and the impact of community support.”
Establishing Relationships is Bogatin’s Entry Plan
Bogatin says that when he was considering applying for the superintendent position, he looked to see if the residents and businesses support their schools with active participation and through support of levies and bonds. “I wanted to work in a school district that is part of the community,” he says. “Tumwater hit all the marks on that.”
The Tumwater School District is the third largest in Thurston County, serving 6,200 students, employing 800 staff and operating 12 school buildings. The district has six kindergarten through grade five schools, four preschool programs, two middle schools and three high schools, plus it is the home of the New Market Skills Center and the Tumwater Virtual Academy. Bogatin will be meeting with school staff and others in the district to hear more about the schools’ facilities and programs. “I want to meet with the leadership and board members. I want to have coffee and get to know the people,” he adds. “I want us to be aligned and heading in the same direction.” Another priority will be meeting with district teachers, staff, and association leaders.
Engaging with community leaders and interested parties to learn how the district can best serve them is also an early focus for Bogatin. He says he is getting to know Tumwater and finding out more about the district’s deep community ties. “I want to understand the people in the community and the district,” he says. Bogatin is setting up meetings in person, by phone and via Zoom. “I am connecting with a variety of patrons, community and state leaders,” he says.
And, Bogatin is interested to hear from local businesses about skills that enable students to enter the workforce more effectively. “With technical and career education, I am interested in meeting with business owners to hear what skills and background they want to see in employees,” he says of student instruction. In conversations with business leaders in his current district, they share, ‘Here’s what I need, and I have work for them, but I want to see these skills.’ They provide very practical, concrete examples of skills they want to see. It’s important that we hear directly from them.”
Bogatin is Excited to Move to Tumwater
Bogatin says he is excited to move for other reasons, too. In his travels to Tumwater from Oregon to explore the area he saw a growing community. In addition, he appreciates Puget Sound’s lovely forested surroundings, which fit his family’s lifestyle. “We are a hiking, camping family,” he says, adding that he also likes to road bike.
Killough says Bogatin made it clear through the application process that he was enthusiastic about relocating to the Tumwater School District. “He’s thrilled to move here,” Killough says. “He has a good sense of humor. And he’s all about relationships. We are looking forward to his official start on July 1.”
As the 2023-24 school year approaches, the district will host a meet ‘n greet to give staff, parents, and community members an opportunity to meet him.