Committee picks principal finalists for South Whidbey Elementary School

And then there were two. After 17 faculty, parents, staff and students from the South Whidbey School District interviewed six candidates, Jeffrey Cravy and Cheryl Anderton were announced as the two South Whidbey Elementary School principal finalists Wednesday.

“We’re looking for someone who can be a collaborative leader, someone who can address staff in terms of getting the best teamwork possible,” said District Superintendent Jo Moccia.

“ … of course addressing student performance, a positive role model, somebody who had a passion for being an elementary principal.”

She added: “Nobody has any reservations about the two finalists we selected.”

Cravy is the principal of Tonasket Elementary School. In October, Cravy was awarded the elementary principal of the year award by the Washington Library Media Association. He was nominated for the honor by both a former and a current teacher-librarian at Tonasket Elementary School for advocating full-time teacher-librarians, integrating technology at the library and encouraging librarians to be teachers and leaders.

The move would take Cravy from a school with about

520 students to one of almost 600. Tonasket School District, in the city of Tonasket about 20 miles south of the U.S./Canadian border in north central Washington, draws from a vast, rural area of 1,600 square miles. South Whidbey, in comparison, draws from about 60 square miles.

Anderton teaches at Twin City Elementary School with an enrollment around

340 in Stanwood. She runs the Stanwood-Camano School District’s Highly Capable program from third to sixth grade. In January 2010, Anderton, called “Mrs. A” by her students, was voted as the teacher of the month. Though Anderton has not been a principal, Moccia highlighted the experience Anderton had running the school’s Highly Capable program, describing it as an administrator’s position.

Whoever gets the job has a tall task ahead. The new principal replaces Jamie Boyd who resigned in early March from the position that paid almost $91,000. The elementary school in Langley was placed on an improvement plan after failing to make enough gains on standardized tests. For the third consecutive year, fourth and fifth grade reading scores decreased. Math scores from fourth graders made marginal improvements, while fifth graders had a slight drop.

“They both have the capacity to be excellent leaders in the elementary school. They each bring different skill sets to the position. He has experience as an elementary principal, she has experience directing a Highly Capable program,” Moccia said.

A total of 16 applications were submitted to the school district. Before the schools left for spring break, Moccia and the committee selected six applicants to interview.

Cravy will visit the district Tuesday, April 17, and Anderton will tour the school district Thursday, April 19. During the visits, the candidates will meet with elementary school students at

2:30 p.m. and faculty at 3:45. Once the meetings end, Moccia will have dinner with the candidates before attending a public forum at 6:30 p.m. in the school board meeting room at the South Whidbey Primary Campus. The forum will be a final chance for community members to tell Moccia what they think of Cravy and Anderton.

The salary for the next principal has not been set, but will range from $85,000 to $95,000. A final salary will be negotiated with the nominee after April 25 when Moccia will ask the school board to approve the candidate.


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