Process set for picking Walla Walla School District superintendent

The board intends to take the public's ideas and suggestions to heart.

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WALLA WALLA -- About 15 area residents attended the first of what will be several community information sessions hosted by Walla Walla Public Schools as it launches a search for its next superintendent.

Superintendent Richard Carter announced recently he will retire at the end of the school year, concluding 10 years leading the city's public schools.

The district has been quick to start the process of finding the right replacement, with the goal of keeping the public involved and informed.

The preliminary meeting was facilitated by John Fotheringham, a consultant with Northwest Leadership Associates who has been hired by the School Board to lead the candidate search.

Fotheringham went over a timeline for the superintendent search, and stressed the importance of keeping the search process open to the public whenever possible.

The board intends to take the public's ideas and suggestions to heart.

Area residents, including parents and staff of Walla Walla Public Schools, are encouraged to fill out a survey with key questions that will help the district produce a formal job announcement.

Hard copies of the survey are available at the district office, 364 S. Park St., while an electronic version can be taken at www.wwps.org. The deadline for surveys is Dec. 1.

After that, district leaders hope to develop and print the job announcement, which will be distributed throughout the state.

Community participation and input won't be limited to the initial survey, Fotheringham explained. Although the surveys will be used to draft the job announcement and draw the right applicants, there will be additional opportunities for area residents to weigh in.

Beginning in March, as the pool of desirable candidates is refined, some community members will get the chance to join the board as observers who will make recommendations off initial interviews with up to six job hopefuls. The feedback will help the board select three finalists.

The three final candidates will spend a day in mid-March doing follow-up interviews, and meeting with staff and community groups.

Individuals who participate in those sessions would then rank their choices to the board.

Fotheringham said as the dates near, the district will be looking for people interested in serving as observers in the preliminary interviews, and who represent different community groups.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/schoolhousemissives.

On the calendar

Walla Walla Public Schools superintendent search key dates:

  • Dec. 1 -- Deadline for submitting surveys. Copies available at district offices, 364 S. Park St., or online at www.wwps.org.
  • Dec. 29 -- Job announcement brochure mailed out.
  • March 5 -- Application deadline for interested superintendent candidates.
  • March 13 -- Preliminary interviews with up to six candidates.
  • March 16-18 -- Full-day visits to district by three finalists, one on each day.
  • March 23 -- New superintendent hired no later than this date.
  • July 1 -- New superintendent's first day on the job.

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