District making progess on superintendent search
The Newberg School District, aided by a search firm hired to help facilitate the process, is finishing the early stages of its search for a new superintendent.
On Monday, the school board determined the composition of its screening committee and approved a final report by search firm NextUp Leadership that outlined the public's desires for the position.
The district received public comment in a multitude of settings, hearing from community members, students and staff.
Its goal was to determine how the public's desires lined up with those of the board members, bringing them together to decide what it will be looking for in a permanent superintendent.
"The consultant company that we hired handled the input session and created a report for the board, which they presented on Monday, Dec. 3 at their meeting," district communications coordinator Gregg Koskela said. "The board received that and received the recommendations of the summary of those comments."
Koskela said the firm received 410 responses through its online survey, meetings and telephone interviews.
It only expected roughly 300 for a district of Newberg's size, he continued, so the numbers showcase the level of involvement Newberg residents have shown during this process.
"(The firm) felt really good about the input they received through the meetings," he said. "We're really proud of that, too."
Public comments at the Dec. 3 board meeting included interest in a more bilingual-focused school system to better serve Latino students and their families, a desire for a superintendent trained in a similar socioeconomic environment as Newberg, and a request to include students on the screening committee so they might be able to voice their interests.
Hundreds of other parents, citizens, students and staff weighed in over the past few weeks; their opinions will help shape the job description when it is officially posted on the district website and wherever else NextUp decides to advertise.
The board approved a large portion of NextUp's recommendations at its Dec. 3 meeting, but a handful of amendments were made before the Dec. 10 approval. A timeline for hiring the position is set as well, with NextUp promising a "robust western regional search" with more than 32,000 contacts established nationally.
"The screening committee will make their recommendations to the board about which applicants to interview," Koskela said. "February will be interviews between one and three rounds and then the public will have the opportunity to meet the candidates. The board will make its final decision in March."
Interim superintendent Joe Morelock has been encouraged by the board to apply for the position in what should be a crowded field of candidates on a national level. There were some calls at past meetings to appoint Morelock as the permanent superintendent, but the board chose instead to go through the full process and hire NextUp Leadership to conduct a search.
"They very much want to go through that process and make sure we have the best candidate for the district moving forward," Koskela said.