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Assistant superintendent no longer a candidate for interim spot in Newberg, school board continues to review applications

Not much is known about the Newberg School District board's search for an interim superintendent to replace outgoing leader Kym LeBlanc-Esparza, but it became clear last week that assistant superintendent Dave Parker is no longer in the running. Parker

That's because Parker accepted an offer to be the superintendent in the Forest Grove School District beginning July 1, according to releases from both school districts posted May 2.

"I'm thrilled to serve as the next permanent superintendent for the Forest Grove School District," Parker said. "I believe my skills will help lead the district into the future. I am really proud of the accomplishments we've made at Newberg public schools and I know the administrative team will continue to push our successes forward. There is a lot of work ahead and I'm committed to working alongside our staff and community through June 30 to solve the budget challenges we face."

Newberg's board of directors has held executive sessions to review applications and interview candidates on three occasions, most recently on Friday, but has shared little else about its progress.

Among the few public comments the board has made on the subject was a brief update delivered at its April 24 meeting by Melinda Van Bossuyt, who urged patience while the process plays out.

The board was also scheduled to meet in executive session following Tuesday's regular board meeting to discuss personnel issues and labor negotiations.

Most of the board expressed support for Parker as a strong candidate to serve as assistant superintendent when it voted to search for an interim superintendent as opposed to a permanent hire at its April 10 meeting.

Gail Grobey, who is president of the district's licensed teachers union, had pressed for the board at that same meeting to appoint Parker immediately not only because he was qualified and had the support of the majority of district employees, but because "if you don't, someone else will grab him up."

After Forest Grove did just that, Newberg board chairman Bob Woodruff wished Parker well.

"He's done a lot of good work for us," Woodruff said. "I really hope that he has the best of success over in Forest Grove. I think they're lucky to get him."

According to releases from the Forest Grove School District, its board was scheduled to complete interviews with finalists for its position May 1 and 2 and announce its selection May 14, but made their choice public May 2.

Woodruff said May 2 that he did not expect the board to make a hire at this weeks' meeting (which took place after press time for this story), but the board did schedule a work session for Thursday to interview candidates to replace Debbie Hawblitzel, who was set retire from the board at the conclusion of Tuesday's meeting. A replacement will likely be named at the May 22 meeting.

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