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New Union superintendent Carter Wells, right, speaks with interim superintendent Mike Wood Wednesday after Wells was named the districtís new superintendent. (Chris Baxter/The Observer)
UNION — Union High School Principal Carter Wells is about to add a chapter to a proud family legacy.
Wells was named the next superintendent of the Union School District Wednesday night. The educator is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Thomas Wells, who was a longtime school administrator in Oregon and was superintendent of the Astoria School District about six decades ago.
“It is an honor to be following his path,” Wells said.
Completing his fifth year as UHS principal, Wells will succeed interim superintendent Mike Wood on July 1.
“I’m very excited. Union is a wonderful community and we have a great staff,’’ Wells said.
Wells, 36, admits he is a bit wary of the challenge ahead.
“I’m also nervous. There is a lot of responsibility and a lot of new things to learn,” he said.
Union School Board chair Deb Savely said she is delighted Wells has agreed to be the next superintendent.
“He has done a wonderful job as principal the past five years. He’s dedicated to the district and the community,” Savely said.
Ron Bruce, also a school board member, is equally pleased.
“I’m stoked,” Bruce said. “He will get this ship going in the right direction. Hopefully, he will be here for the long term.”
Wood will serve as Wells’ mentor, one who will be available for him to consult at any time. Wood served as superintendent of the Union School District for 13 years before retiring in mid-2011. He was named interim superintendent in April to fill in for Jon St. Germaine, who has been superintendent since July 2011.
St. Germaine announced on March 19 he will resign June 30 because of health issues. St. Germanine has been on medical leave since mid-February.
The board named Wells the next superintendent at the recommendation of Wood.
“He’s as ready as any 36-year-old can be to be superintendent,” Wood said.
Wood said he is impressed with how Wells has tackled difficult situations during his tenure as high school principal.
“He has accepted and embraced many challenges over the last five years,” Wood said.
Wells came to the Union School District in 2008 after working five years at Clara Brownell Middle School in Umatilla. He was a social studies teacher his first three years there and its dean of students his last two years.
Wells is a 2002 Eastern Oregon University graduate. He is originally from Newport Beach, Calif., where he grew up. Wells and his wife, Kailin, have two daughters and one son, who all attend school in the Union School District.
Follow Dick on Twitter @lgoMason.