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Columbia Heights School Board Accepts Retirement and Appoints New Superintendent to Begin July 1, 2020

The Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS) Board of Education formally accepted the retirement of Superintendent Kathy L. Kelly at its Dec. 17, 2019 Regular Business meeting, effective June 30, 2020.

The School Board unanimously recognized the years of service, passion, vision, grace, energy, hard work and commitment that Superintendent Kelly has provided to the District and deeply thanks her for exemplary leadership and partnership, as well as her ability to attract, develop and retain high quality administration and employees.

“CHPS is a better place to learn and work due, in many ways, to Superintendent Kelly’s presence, persistence, patience and capacity to show up every morning and do the good and difficult work that needs to be done on a daily basis,” said School Board Chair John Larkin.

The District has benefited from 13 years of qualified and passionate leadership from Superintendent Kelly and Administration who are committed to excellence in management and consultation, and in partnership with a School Board committed to excellence in governance. The District has been engaged in planning and improvement in all aspects of academic, extra-curricular, operational, cultural, and relational improvement and stabilization.

The District, its students, staff, families and communities are unique in culture, diversity, history, strengths and needs.  The District needs and will benefit most from leadership with demonstrated capacities, skills and compassion with our students, staff, families and communities.

Based on these needs, the School Board has been assessing options for the Superintendent transition since September and has fully committed to the process of succession versus a process of search.

The Board seeks competent, qualified and committed leadership that provides for stability, sustainability and continuation of our approved plans, goals, initiatives and vision. The School Board unanimously approved the appointment of Zena Stenvik as the Superintendent of CHPS as of July 1, 2020, and has approved an agreement for her employment as such. Stenvik has been with the District since 2007 and currently serves as the Executive Director of Educational Services.

“The Board wishes Superintendent Kelly health and a life lived well in her earned retirement and extends to her an open door and warm welcome whenever she may be able to visit,” Larkin noted. “We look forward to many years of partnership with Stenvik as we strive to provide excellence in governance, management and consultation in service to our students, families, employees and communities,” Larkin noted.

To learn more about Stenvik's background and qualifications, view her resume. For more information, contact the District at 763-528-4500.