At a special board meeting on Wednesday night, April 19, 2022, the Kent School District (KSD) Board of Directors selected Israel Vela as its next superintendent.

Vela is replacing Dr. Calvin Watts, who left to take a Superintendent job in Georgia. He was chosen after an extensive superintendent search process conducted by McPherson and Jacobson, LLC that culminated in three finalists visiting the district and participating in virtual interviews, staff meetings, and town halls.

Vela has been serving as the Interim Superintendent since August, 2022, and “provided outstanding leadership during this transitional period,” according to the district.

“During his more than 30 years as a leader in education, it is his experiences that have led him to pursue one of the most important and critical positions in the greater KSD community, which is successfully preparing students for their futures,” the district said. “He has first-hand knowledge of how critical it is to have support and high expectations that ensure all students are prepared to be highly skilled and productive citizens.”

“First and foremost, it is an honor to serve our students, families, staff, and community in this role. I am excited by the bright future for this district as we continue working together in creating high expectations for all students and providing the resources students need to achieve their educational goals and dreams. To continue serving with our staff and partnering with our families and community organizations to make a difference every day in the lives of our children, is both a privilege and my sincere commitment to this community,” said Mr. Vela. “I thank the Board of Directors for this opportunity to continue successfully preparing all students for their futures.”

“The Kent School District has been blessed to have such outstanding and qualified employees in every part of our organization,” said School Board President Leslie Hamada. “In the last few selections, the board searched for a new leader and chose one outside the district. Building and bringing forth our own and retaining them is something we should encourage in all areas going forward. Making sure our district reflects and represents the make-up of our community is extremely important. As a spokesperson for the entire board, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the Kent School District Board of Directors has selected a member of our community who has called Kent home for years. He has years of experience, plus adds to the district by speaking dual languages. Going forward, it will take our entire community to get behind Mr. Israel Vela, our next superintendent, to make it rise to a top district in the state. Please join me in formally welcoming him into his new position.”

Read Vela’s complete biography here to learn more about his exceptional experiences that prepared him to be the next superintendent.

The Board of Directors and Vela are beginning contract negotiations, and his tenure will begin as soon as they are complete.

If you appreciate our independent local journalism, please…



Scott Schaefer

Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...