South Kitsap School District officials expect to identify their next superintendent in about four months.
According to a timeline released last week by Northwest Leadership Associates, which is the search firm SKSD’s board of directors hired to handle the search, a contract is expected to be offered to the next superintendent Feb. 27.
Plenty must occur before that date, though. Among those is a survey available to parents at SKSD’s website (www.skitsap.wednet.edu). NLA president Dennis Ray said during a meeting Wednesday at the district office that the survey, which will be available until Nov. 5, will help guide the search process.
“We will use that to draft a position description,” he said.
Ray said the position will be posted on websites that are popular among educators on Oct. 26. The application deadline is Jan. 22.
SKSD is seeking to replace Dave LaRose, who left in July to become the superintendent of California’s Culver City Unified School District. Bev Cheney, who previously served as the district’s superintendent from 2001-08, replaced him on an interim basis. She is expected to hold the position until July 1, when the new superintendent reports.
At a sparsely attended meeting with Ray on Wednesday at the school district board room, a couple of locals raised some questions about the search. In addition to LaRose’s departure, deputy superintendent Kurt Wagner died in April. Last month, assistant superintendent for human resources Greg Roberts left to accept a similar position with the Seattle Fire Department. Roberts’ position has been filled by Lynn Stellick for the duration of the school year.
Ray told the gathering that SKSD officials prefer to allow the new superintendent to fill openings at the central office.
In addition to Roberts and deputy superintendent Kurt Wagner in April, Director of School and Family support Dave Colombini moved to assistant superintendent of instructional services, while SK High School assistant principal Frank Sullivan fills his former role. Both moves are expected to last for this school year as the district seeks Wagner’s successor.
“It would be nice if the person in the superintendent chair can identify where they go down the road,” Ray said.
Alice Rosengren-Porter, who has had children and grandchildren in SKSD, said she embraces the district’s Whole Child philosophy and wants the next superintendent to prioritize that.
“The superintendent, I think, has to be someone not starting a new thing,” she said. “We need to continue on and build with that. They have to be an individual that loves people.”
Joanne Sprague said she does not have an issue with that, but expressed concern that many high-performing students at the district’s elementary schools are leaving to attend the Peninsula and Vashon Island school districts. She thinks that is because of a dearth of Advanced Placement classes in SKSD.
“When you talk with anyone about South Kitsap, the first thing you almost always hear is sports,” Sprague said. “I would like to see more of an emphasis on education.”
Ray said he would compile the feedback from Rosengren-Porter, Sprague and others to help the district identify a candidate that best fits its needs. There will be further opportunities for community members to provide feedback through the survey and the community panel, which Ray said likely will consist of 18 to 24 members who apply with the school board.