Superintendent Search Committee may recommend school board hire search firm

POULSBO — The Superintendent Search Committee may not be alone in the search for a new superintendent for the North Kitsap School District.

Committee members agreed at its first meeting Thursday to recommend the school board hire a consulting firm to assist in the search.

The committee decision followed a presentation by Mike Boring and Rich Parker of McPherson & Jacobson, an executive recruitment and development firm. The recruitment firm offered a price of $11,000 for the search.

In 2008, the district paid Cascade Consulting Group $24,463.99 to search for a superintendent. With other expenses, the search cost $27,652.52.

The next superintendent will replace Richard Jones, whose contract will not be renewed at the end of the 2011-12 school year. Jones began working for the district in 2009, succeeding Eugene Medina.

Committee member Joe Davalos — also the superintendent of the Suquamish Tribal Education Department — noted there have been several superintendents in the district since the 1980s. Aside from Medina, who signed his contract in 1999 and retired, he said those past superintendents did not last long.

"If we go this route, we need to talk about how to get a pool (of candidates) which has characteristics we want," Davalos said.

If the school board hires the firm, it is estimated to cost the district a total of approximately $15,000, which includes advertising and travel costs for finalists to visit the district.

If hired, the firm will be integrated into the search process and help with everything from establishing a set of criteria the board wants to see in candidates, to reference checks, and setting up interviews. Boring said the consultants would work with the district until the search is completed. If a superintendent leaves within the first year, the search will be repeated for free, he said.

"Whether you do this yourselves, or with help … Either way you don't want to do this every other year," Boring said.

The search committee was created to save the district money and get the community more involved in the search process. If a firm is hired, the committee would stay involved and could potentially sit in on executive sessions typically closed to the public.

How open the search process is to the public; however, could affect the candidate pool. Boring said potential candidates may be hesitant to apply knowing their applications will be viewed by more than a school board.

Committee members include James Andrews, Randy Borek, Joe Davalos, Dina Ginn, Nancy Grennan, Russ Shiplet, Tony Smallback, Kevin Stigile, Corrine Williams and a member of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe not officially named. S’Klallam Chairman Jeromy Sullivan represented the tribe at the first meeting.

The school board has the final authority in hiring a superintendent. It is expected the search will continue through April.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 22. The next meeting of the Superintendent Search Committee is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 6.

What other local school districts have done to fill the superintendent position

Bainbridge Island School District: hired the last two superintendents — current superintendent Faith Chapel and Ken Crawford — from inside the district. Stephen Rowley, who worked at the district from 1997 to 2002, was the most recent superintendent hired using a consultant firm. A citizens committee worked alongside the consultants in 1997 before Rowley was hired.

South Kitsap School District: Dave La Rose was hired in 2009 from inside the district after a search was conducted by the school board. The search, along with community forums, led to the hiring of Rose. Community meetings helped the SKSD school board form a vision for what it would like to see in a superintendent.

Central Kitsap School District: used a consultant for three of its past four superintendents.


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