Submitted by Mayor Don Anderson.
The most important task of any school board is to recruit and select a Superintendent. The Clover Park School District has embarked on that difficult quest. Like other members of the City Council, I was encouraged to hear that a search firm was being retained to conduct a nationwide search to insure our district hires the best candidate possible. That would be a sensible path, but it doesn’t appear to be the path that is being followed.
Over the years I been on selection committees for public executives, the CEO of a major non-profit and a school superintendent. Sometimes an internal candidate with a wealth of local knowledge was selected. In other instances it was an outsider with new ideas. In all instances we recruited a wide range of applicants and tested the broader market before making a decision.
I was dismayed when I attended the first “listening session” conducted by the search firm. First, there was less listening than expected, with a greater emphasis placed on telling community members what was going to happen. Most disturbing was the revelation that there is not an ongoing search, national or otherwise. The consulting firm, which has only 16 superintendent job postings nationally, does not even list the Clover Park position on its website as an opening! They only plan to conduct a search if they can’t find a qualified internal candidate. That is not fair to our residents or to the district’s students. It is also unfair to any qualified internal candidate, who if selected by that process will always have his or her hiring questioned by the community.
I’ve heard reports from several other “listening sessions” where community leaders repeatedly voiced similar concerns and frustration at their perception that they were not being heard. Hopefully the school district and its consultants are listening. You should call or write the district to provide your input before the selection train has left the station. This is too important to the future of our community.
Mayor Don Anderson
Website input: www.cloverpark.k12.wa.us/Dept/CommunityRelations/Feedback.aspx
Superintendent: (253) 583-5190; firstname.lastname@example.org