Mike Stromme

Mike Stromme, interim superintendent of the Lynden School District. (Bill Helm/Lynden Tribune)

LYNDEN — Mike Stromme was hired by the Lynden School Board to be a bridge.

Stromme, the district’s interim superintendent, took over when Jim Frey stepped down after 11 years as Lynden’s superintendent. Stromme will not only pass the proverbial baton on to the next superintendent, he also will work two months with the district’s new leader, the district’s plan for a smooth transition.

Thursday, Oct. 14, the Lynden School Board formally agreed to ask Stromme to extend his one-year tenure as interim superintendent to Aug. 31.

Monday, Stromme said that the Lynden School District is comprised of “wonderful people.”

“This district is really committed to providing the best educational programs for students and their families,” Stromme said. “Lynden School District has talented educators, and this is an extremely supportive community. I’m really thankful to be working in a district where people take pride in their work.”

Board President Steve Jilk said that when the board selected Stromme to replace Frey, they “wanted to bring someone on that could play a two-part program for us: continue to develop certain elements of Jim Fry’s program and help us in developing the new Superintendent’s program and transition.”

“Dr. Stromme has more that helped us in these efforts so far,” Jilk said.

Stromme said that he looks forward to being able to help with his successor’s transition.

“I’ll be focusing on transition, consulting and mentoring as necessary,” Stromme said.

Also Thursday, the board tasked Jilk and Board Member C.J. Cosanti with developing the process to find a permanent superintendent, and to work with Northwest Associates, the firm that ultimately found Stromme.

“We will be meeting with Northwest Associates soon to finalize the timeline and establish the focus groups of teachers, school leaders, parents and community members to join the process,” Jilk said. “It will be through these focus groups that the qualities will be established for the selection process.”

Cosanti explained Monday that involving teachers, school leaders, parents and community members in the process to find a superintendent represents a “wide net.”

“Reaching out to the community, our stakeholders, have them define for us what they want,” Cosanti said. “Lean on the process.”