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The district will hold a facilitated listening session Monday night so the public can weigh in on what qualities and qualifications it should prioritize

The Newberg School Board began taking steps this week to begin its search for a new superintendent and is hosting a public forum at 7 p.m. Monday at the district office to learn what qualities and qualifications community members believe the district's next leader should possess.

The board held a special meeting Monday night to officially announce the vacancy for superintendent and declare its intent to conduct a search for either an interim or permanent replacement for Kym LeBlanc-Esparza, who officially tendered her resignation, effective June 30, at the March 20 board meeting.

The district then distributed a survey via email to students, staff, parents and community members on Tuesday. The survey asks stakeholders to rank several qualities and qualifications within four different categories: leadership qualities, management skills, communication skills, and personal and professional. It also includes a section where participants can list three qualifications of their choice.

The board also met Thursday at the district office for its own facilitated work session and discussion on the desired qualifications for the position. The board went through the same process of ranking characteristics that was provided through the online survey, plus an exercise that included qualities specific to how potential candidates might work with the board.

After the public forum Monday, the board will then hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

After receiving a report on the feedback received from the online survey and the public meeting on Monday, the will have the opportunity to approve an official list of characteristics it will use to as a guide during the search process and which will form a part of any job posting.

The board will also discuss and could vote to approve the hiring process it will use moving forward. Judging by the discussion, the board is not considering performing a search for a permanent replacement at this time, but will pursue hiring an interim superintendent, likely on a 12-month contract. That would allow them to plan and budget for, at approximately $50,000, a full national search beginning in the fall or winter.

The email sent to stakeholders also notes that the board has the option to simply appoint a superintendent, if it so desires, but members discussed at Thrusday's meeting the importance of establishing the process to make that decision, which is exactly what the series of meetings aims to accomplish.

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