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Renton School District selects Merri Rieger as next superintendent

Merri Rieger - Courtesy photo
Merri Rieger
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The Renton School District announced Tuesday morning that Merri Rieger, current Kent chief student achievement officer, has been selected to become Renton's next superintendent.

She will take office in Renton on July 1.

The selection follows last week's interviews with Rieger, Bremerton Superintendent Lester Herndon and Puyallup schools' Assistant Superintendent Crystalee Sweeting.

"We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Merri Rieger as our new superintendent,” said School Board President Lynn Desmarais, in a district release. “Merri has the depth of experience and sense of vision that make her a perfect fit for the Renton School District.”

Rieger has served as the assistant superintendent for learning and improvement in Kent, high school principal in the Bremerton school district and dean of students and high school teacher in the Auburn School District. She received her bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from Washington State University.

When interviewed by phone Tuesday morning, Rieger said she was very excited about the opportunity.

"I'm honored to have this opportunity," she said. "I'm really excited about being a part of the Renton School District team and being a part and the community."

Rieger currently lives not too far from the district, but said she had plans to move within the Renton School District. Already she has a plan for her first steps in the position.

"First thing I'm going to do is get a real good sense of what is in Renton, listen and learn about the good things that are happening and work with the team and create some plans as needed," Rieger said.

Renton's previous superintendent, Mary Alice Heuschel, left office in January to become Gov. Jay Inslee's chief of staff. A former assistant superintendent, Vera Risdon, is the interim superintendent until Rieger steps into her new role in July.

“Renton’s reputation attracted a strong field of candidates due in part to the tremendous community support we receive,” said Desmarais. “And with the community's help in assessing leadership potential, Dr. Rieger rose to the top. Nearly forty people committed to spending several evenings with us, listening to interviews and offering comments to guide us in selecting our finalists, and many participated in the three day-long final selection process. As a result, the district has yet another highly capable leader, and our students and families will continue to benefit."

 

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