ATHENA — A Walla Walla public schools administrator has been hired as the Athena-Weston district’s new superintendent.

Laure Quaresma will start her new job July 1. This position also entail being the principal for Athena Elementary School.

“I think Laure will make an outstanding contribution to the district,” interim Superintendent Jim Reger said in a news release. “Her experience as a teacher, a building administrator and an assistant superintendent will all serve as assets in her new position in our district.” 

Quaresma is currently the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning at Walla Walla Public Schools, a job she has held since 2010. She’s worked in the district since 1989, serving as a third-grade teacher at Blue Ridge Elementary, physical education teacher at Walla Walla High School, assistant principal at Garrison Middle School, Sharpstein Elementary’s principal, and assistant superintendent of personnel.

Quaresma earned her bachelor’s degree in K-12 education from Western Washington University and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Eastern Washington University.

“I have appreciated the opportunity for professional growth and relationships developed with staff and students during my career in Walla Walla Public Schools,” Quaresma said in a news release posted on the Walla Walla Public Schools website. 

Quaresma said she looks forward to working in a smaller school district and getting to know the students and families in the rural Oregon towns of Athena and Weston, according to a news release from the local educational service district. 

“It’s a strong school district that really supports its students,” she said. “I am eager to continue the concepts of teaching and learning through individualized instruction and discovering what motivates kids on their paths to college and career.”

Student population in this combined school district is about 600 students, with 38 full-time teachers and two part-time, according to the district website. The district includes Athena Elementary, Weston Middle School and Weston-McEwen High School in Athena.

The district’s previous superintendent, Jerry Copeland, resigned last year to take a position as director of human resources for the Intermountain Education Service District.

Former interim superintendent of the Milton-Freewater Unified School District, Jim Reger, came out of retirement to fill the position in the Athena-Weston district temporarily.

The Athena-Weston School Board’s decision to hire Quaresma came Friday after several weeks of deliberation. A second finalist was Roger Trail, executive director of human resources at Clarkston School District.

Dian Ver Valen can be reached at dianvervalen@wwub.com or 526-8363 or 509-956-8312.

Dian is editor of the Union-Bulletin and Lifestyles magazine. She received her bachelor's in journalism from Western Washington University in 2003. She received her master's in communication and leadership from Gonzaga.