Superintendent search advances

"Pamphlets extolling the South Whidbey community were sent to 62 people last week, one of whom will likely be chosen the next superintendent of the school district.The superintendent search was prompted by the recent resignation of Dr. Lisa Bjork, who will serve through June. The school board hired Dr. Richard E. Smith to lead the search for a replacement. Smith is a professor in the graduate school at Seattle Pacific University and former superintendent of schools in Coupeville.Smith has a side business helping school districts find superintendents. It's very time consuming, he said last week. I do one a year.Smith designed the pamphlet after receiving input from the community through a questionnaire mailed out to 9,000 residents and a public meeting. Smith said 285 people returned the questionnaire and about 45 attended the meeting.It's a plum of a job but there are some challenges, he said, describing those challenges as building trust and bonds with the community, and financing.Criteria were established based upon input from the public and school board, Smith said. Here's how they're listed in the pamphlet in order of importance:* Financial management* Superintendent/board leadership* Academics/instructional leadership* Communication* Leadership team building* Integrity and personal relations* Problem solvingThe candidates must hold at least a master's degree, although the district traditionally hires superintendents with doctorates. Smith said the master's minimum is just routine, we want to keep the door wide open, but it probably will be a doctor.The deadline for prospective candidates to apply for the position is May 8. The board is willing to provide a three-year contract, according to the pamphlet.,One of Bjork's frustrations was that the board last year declined to extend her contract to three years."

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