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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Dr. Karen Cheser named a finalist for Washington state school superintendent

Dr. Karen Cheser, FTM file. 

In January, Dr. Karen Cheser, Superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools announced that after  her fourth year leading one of the highest-performing school districts in Kentucky and the surrounding region, that she would retire as superintendent on June 30, the last day of the 2020-2021 academic year.

Now we know what her next steps could be. 

Originally reported by The Columbian, Dr. Cheser was named as one of the four finalists Vancouver Public Schools which boasts 21 elementary schools, six middle schools and five high schools and over 23,000 students. The school district, which is in the state of Washington, is similar to the size of Boone County Schools and is a suburb of Portland. 

As many as 360 community attendees tuned into the 2-hour, 30-minute webinar held by Vancouver Public Schools, which allowed educators, students and community members to virtually meet the four candidates aiming to be Vancouver Public Schools’ next superintendent.

"As I transition to the next chapter of my life, after retirement in Kentucky, I can’t imagine not continuing to work with students and the educators who inspire them," Dr. Cheser told Fort Thomas Matters.

"Vancouver is a fantastic district with great people, a thriving community, and of course, it’s a beautiful place to live. I am honored to be a finalist for the superintendent position and am hopeful that I can make a difference for the students there."

“In Fort Thomas, we truly have the best and the brightest, not only in our classrooms and hallways but with community support that is second to none,” Dr. Cheser said said upon her retirement announcement. 

“Serving as superintendent of this wonderful district has been the honor of my career and I am so thankful for everything that we have accomplished together.”

Dr. Cheser started her career in sales and brand management at Procter and Gamble before venturing into education, where she has been a teacher, coach, literacy and math specialist, principal, Distinguished Educator, director of curriculum, chief academic officer and deputy superintendent before moving to Fort Thomas in her current role in 2017.

“I am so fortunate to have had such a fulfilling career and to have met so many people along the way who have become lifelong friends. Relationships matter to me,” Dr. Cheser said. “Now is also the right time for me to step aside financially, given the way that pension benefits work in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It makes the most sense for my family and our future.”

Fort Thomas Independent Schools are in the process of a national search to locate Dr. Cheser’s successor as superintendent and identify the ideal leader to build upon a well-established tradition of excellence.

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