Superintendent search narrows

"By next week, only three people will be in the running to become superintendent of South Whidbey schools.Whittled down from 29 total applicants as of May 8 -- the closing date to apply for the position -- the small pool of finalists will have a chance to scrutinize the South Whidbey School District as thoroughly as they will be scrutinized by local parents, teachers, students and school board members.Last night, a panel of seven community members, seven school district employees, one school board member, and one student evaluated six finalists for the job at he South Whidbey School Board meeting. By the end of this week, that panel will reduce this number to three.Up for consideration were:* Gary Cohn, vice president of administrative services for Lake Washington Technical College.* Greg Cowan, assistant superintendent for planning and administration, Bellingham School District.* Martin Kay, assistant superintendent of human resources, Mount Vernon School District.* Marin Laster, superintendent, Darrington School District.* Dan Stewart, assistant superintendent, Chahalis School District.* Joel Thaut, assistant superintendent, Eastmont School District.Dick Smith, the consultant hired by the district to run the superintendent search, said professional resume readers thinned the candidate field from 29 to 6. He noted that all the remaining candidates work in Washington school districts and all six a men.The readers were impressed with the quality and quantity of the applicants, Smith said.Smith said last night's panel would use the results of mailed surveys and a recent community forum concerning the superintendent search to pick the three finalists. He said the desires of the South Whidbey community are paramount in choosing a new superintendent.The three finalists will visit South Whidbey on May 22, 23, and 24. On each of those days, the finalists will spend time in the schools meeting with staff and students. They will also attend community forums each of those nights to meet community members and to answer any questions they may have. The forums will start at 7 p.m. in the South Whidbey High School commons.Smith said a panel similar to the one that chose the three finalists will choose a single candidate by early June."

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