School board opts to search for an interim superintendent
The Newberg School District board of directors opted to search for an interim superintendent for the 2018-2019 school year and laid out the basic parameters for the process it will use to select a replacement for Kym LeBlanc-Esparza at its regular meeting Tuesday night.
The board voted 6-1, with director Mindy Allison the lone nay vote, to post the position as an interim one and keep it open until the position is filled.
The board also voted unanimously to approve a list of qualities and qualifications for the position that was developed by the personnel committee, which incorporated input from staff and parents at a public listening session Monday night, as well as from an online survey that had been posted and distributed to parents and staff via email the previous week.
The personnel committee proposed a general timeline to post the position on Wednesday and hold executive sessions to review applications and conduct interviews April 18-19. Those dates could change depending on the volume and quality of the applications received and possibly be followed the same evening by a public session to name a candidate "for the chair and vice chair to discuss contract terms."
The board's earliest opportunity to appoint an interim superintendent will then be at its April 24 meeting.
Prior to the vote, the board took public comment on the issue, with Newberg Education Association President Gayle Grobey forcefully recommending that the board appoint assistant superintendent Dave Parker to the position.
Former district employee and current parent Dan Busch, who is now a middle school principal in the Tigard-Tualatin district, urged the board to move in the opposite direction and search for a permanent replacement.
Allison expressed her desire to seek a permanent superintendent now because the district couldn't afford to wait to address the problems it now faces, but the rest of the board argued it was simply too late in the school year and too expensive to perform the kind of thorough and deliberate search the permanent position requires. They added that the best candidates will have already been hired by districts that had begun their searches in the winter and to use a truncated process to hire a permanent superintendent now would be risky and irresponsible.
Several on the board opined that Parker is a strong candidate but felt the board needed to open the position to outside candidates, establish a hiring process and trust that it would produce the best person for the job, whether that ends up being Parker or not.