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Duane Yecha will retire on June 30 of next year, leaving a vacancy for the school board to fill

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Duane YechaSchool board members will use a search firm to hire the next superintendent and are seeking community input.

The Crook County School District hired a search firm earlier this week to find a replacement for Superintendent Duane Yecha, who will retire June 30, 2018.

"They basically have been doing most of the superintendent placements in Oregon for districts our size," said CCSD Board Chair Doug Smith of the firm they hired.

Board members reviewed proposals from three search firms before selecting Greg McKenzie, a search consultant with NextUp Leadership. The West Linn-based firm was the only one from Oregon, and Smith said it had the most reasonable offer.

NextUp Leadership will charge approximately $8,000 for its services, which includes guiding the whole process, from advertising to interviewing and selecting the right candidate for the job.

CCSD Board Vice Chair Patti Norris is working with McKenzie to create a survey for school district staff, parents, students and key community leaders. Board members want to know what residents perceive as weaknesses within the district and what skills they want the superintendent to possess.

"We're trying to push it so it will be available to parents at conferences (next week) to either take home and fill in online or to do on paper and return back to the district, considering what should we be looking for in a superintendent," Smith explained.

Board members will compile the survey results in early December and will have a work session with NextUp Leadership shortly after the first of the year.

"At that point, we will determine what we want to advertise as far as what we're looking for in a school superintendent," Smith said. "They will take it over — advertise and recruit."

By late February or early March, NextUp Leadership will start bringing applicants to the district.

"One of the reasons we're using a consultant is they know the timeframe that we're going to use to get the best results, and they know where to advertise to get the best results," Smith said. "We're asking them to find us a superintendent, and they have existing superintendents and administrators that are saying, 'Find me a superintendent's job.'"

Smith said the board plans to interview candidates during March with the goal of making offers by the end of that month.

"We will make sure that once we get down to two to three finalists, that we will bring them in, and public, students, teachers will have a chance to talk to them," Smith said. "Following that evaluation period, we will be then in a position of being able to make an offer to a superintendent."

The new superintendent's first day will be July 1, 2018.

In August, Yecha announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2017-18 school year, giving the district nearly a year to find his replacement. Yecha replaced Superintendent Ivan Hernandez, signing a three-year contract and beginning as CCSD superintendent July 1, 2011.

"Dr. Yecha's last day is June 30. July 1, we will have a new superintendent," Smith concluded.

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