Becoming superintendent is Kuehl's goal

Robert Kuehl - Courtesy
Robert Kuehl
— image credit: Courtesy

POULSBO — Robert Kuehl has worked in the Tumwater School District since 1981. He was the second of three superintendent finalists to address the North Kitsap community Tuesday night. His goal, he said, is to become a superintendent.

"I'm assistant superintendent and one of the things I want to do is be a superintendent," Kuehl said. "So, obviously the opportunity to help lead a school district is certainly a goal … It's certainly a goal."

In his career at Tumwater, Kuehl started as a teacher, then served as a principal, director of secondary education, director of capital projects and executive director of human resources.

He likes to think of his management/leadership style as "situational." He believes administration needs to adjust for various situations, and that’s his style. However, the foundation of his management style is collaboration, he said.

When it comes to difficult decisions, such as budget cuts, he said programs with positive results are going to be the least impacted.

"I think we have to take care of those programs that are getting good results," Kuehl said. "Those are off the table."

The North Kitsap School District is expecting a continued decline in enrollment for 2012-13 and more state funding cuts. If it comes down to it, he said he would be willing to cut staff to help balance next year's budget, including administrative positions.

"Certainly," he said. "School districts have made cuts in all of these [staffing areas]. North Kitsap has made cuts in all of these."

Kuehl's visit to the North Kitsap School District follows applications to multiple school districts, including Washougal and Kelso in 2011 and Tumwater in 2010.

North Kitsap High School student Laura Christman felt Kuehl did a good job of answering the audience’s questions during the meeting Tuesday. He thought carefully about everything, she said.

Christman, who raised concerns over the lack of technology at her high school, said she wants a superintendent that will try to find revenue for technology. She understands that money in the district is tight, but wanted to hear if Kuehl had any interesting solutions.

Christman wants a superintendent who has open communication. "I want someone who is really open," she said. "I want someone who seems trustworthy and is willing to involve students."

Along with Kuehl, Coupeville Superintendent Patrice Page, and Battle Ground Assistant Superintendent David Gray are seeking the superintendent position. The school board will make the final decision. The person chosen will replace Richard Jones, whose contract ends June 30.

Gray toured the district Wednesday and is available for questions from the community at 7:45 p.m. in the board room at the district office, 18360 Caldart Ave. NE, Poulsbo.


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