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Gervais Middle School Principal Ann O'Connell among three candidates to replace outgoing Superintendent Matt Henry in July

The Gervais School District Board of Directors announced its three finalists it will be consider to become district's next superintendent beginning July 1.

The board and a screening committee of staff and community members reviewed 24 applicants and conducted initial interviews with several candidates. The three finalists that were chosen are:

Ann O'Connell
GERVAIS MIDDLE SCHOOL - O'Connell

Currently, O'Connell is the Director of Special Services and Middle School Principal in the Gervais School District, a role she has served for nearly nine years.

Previously, she served as the Director of Special Programs and the Assistant Director of Special Programs, respectively, for the Willamette Education Service District (WESD) for over seven years.

Prior to the WESD, O'Connell served as an assistant middle school principal in the Salem-Keizer School District and a Secondary Life Skills teacher in the Cascade School District. O'Connell has an M.S. in Multi-Handicapped Education from Western Oregon State University and a B.A. in English/Sociology from the University of San Diego.

Brad Capener
COURTESY PHOTO - Capener

Capener is the Interim Superintendent for the Jefferson School District 14J, Jefferson, Oregon, a position he has held for one year. Previous to his current role, Capener served as both the K-12 Director of Special Programs and as a principal in the Salem-Keizer School District.

Capener has also worked for the Oregon Department of Education as an Education Specialist and Team Leader for all Federal Programs. Before becoming an administrator, Capener taught middle and high school English and social studies in the Beaverton and Lake Oswego school districts. Capener has an M.S. in Education Administration from Portland State University and a B.A. from Luther College.

Dandy Stevens
COURTESY PHOTO - Stevens

For the last five years, Stevens has served as the Assistant Superintendent in the Silver Falls School District. Before moving over to their district office, Stevens served as a middle school principal, a high school assistant principal responsible for both curriculum and discipline, and language arts and S.O.S. trainer for Gervais High School and the WESD, respectively.

Stevens also has international teaching experience, having taught middle and high school students in both Honduras and Guam. Stevens was awarded the Oregon Curriculum Assistant Principal of the Year award in 2011. She carries a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Portland State and a B.A. in Journalism/Public Relations from the University of Oregon.

These candidates will be invited back to the district on Feb. 28 to meet with staff and tour the schools. The community will have an opportunity to hear from each candidate during an evening meet-and-greet meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the Gervais Elementary School cafeteria.

The Gervais School Board began searching for a new superintendent after current Superintendent Matt Henry announced his pending resignation in May, 2018.

Henry was hired for the 2014-15 school year to replace former superintendent Rick Hensel, who held the position from 2007 to 2014 before retiring. Henry's announcement gave the board a 14-month period in which to conduct a search for his replacement, and in September, 2018, the board agreed conduct the search with an in-house team of administrators led by Ken Stott, Bob Martin, Sylvia Garcia and Creighton Helms.

Following the Feb. 28 tour with the three finalists, the board expects to announce the next steps in the superintendent search soon.

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