Hunt gears up for new school chief

By Brenda Sexton-The Courier-Herald

The Enumclaw School District's search for a superintendent is hitting another gear.

Northwest Leadership Associates, the firm hired to director the district's search, handed out brochures (an invitation to apply) at the Washington State School Director's Association meeting in Spokane in late November and has posted the position. The deadline for applicants is Jan. 15.

Current Superintendent Art Jarvis announced his retirement about this time last year, giving the board more than ample notice he'd be leaving. The board elected to wait until September to start thinking about his replacement. Now they are ready to go.

In addition to the posting, the school board has opened the search for representatives to serve on its superintendent interview advisory panel. The panel will meet at 4 p.m. Jan. 30 and 31 in the school district boardroom. There will be three to four interviews each day, with the last interview ending at approximately 10 p.m. A light dinner will be provided both evenings.

The panel will serve in an advisory role only, as the school board will be conducting the interviews. However, according to Gerrie Garton, the district's director of professional development who is coordinating the panel, each panel member will have the opportunity to listen, reflect on each candidate's responses and provide input that will help the board select three finalist candidates to return for final interviews.

Panel members must be available both days of interviews.

Garton said the board is looking to select a large committee. She said the board anticipates having a representative from both the district's certificated and classified unions; the principal's association; the central office; one staff member from each school building; the retired staff; the city's ministerial board; the area's preschools; Black Diamond and Enumclaw's business community (likely someone from the chamber); three elementary parents; three secondary parents; and five members the board will select.

According to the district's press release and information that will be sent home with students, school board members are asking community groups, including parent groups at each school, to nominate representatives to the panel. Board members will then select up to five additional members from community members indicating an interest in serving to complete the panel. Community members interested in being considered for inclusion on the panel can pick up an application form at the district office or contact Garton at 360-802-7105 or via e-mail at by Jan. 15.

The school board will review candidates and attempt to appoint 12 to 15 community members who represent a balance of viewpoints and interests. All candidates will be notified of their selection or nonselection by Jan. 25.

The district anticipates hiring a new superintendent by the end of February. The person chosen would start July 1.

In its brochure, the board noted it is looking for a superintendent who can build community trust and support through improved communication. Someone who can address the needs of aging facilities and find additional funding for instructional technology. The person they hire should also be ready to handle increased enrollment and growth, and assess curriculum restructuring efforts, making appropriate mid-course adjustments while maintaining the focus on raising achievement.

The board's top qualities for a candidate include a high level of honesty and integrity and excellent communication skills. Someone who is open, accessible and visible.

The board has not released information regarding the salary range for the incoming candidate.

Brenda Sexton can be reached at

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