Speak your mind on new superintendent


Three meetings this week for the public to comment on the process of picking a new superintendent for the Kent School District are scheduled for:

• 10 a.m. Oct. 1 at the district Administration Center, 12033 SE. 256th St.

• 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at Emerald Park Elementary School, 11899 SE. 216th St. in Kent.

• 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at Jenkins Creek Elementary School, 26915 186th Ave. SE. in Covington.

Meetings part of Kent schools’ selection process

Members of the community will have an opportunity to weigh in on exactly what kind of superintendent they want in charge of the Kent School District during meetings today and tomorrow around the district.

“We want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to give input,” said Kent School Board member Bill Boyce. “It’s open to the whole community.”

Last spring, superintendent Barbara Grohe announced her plans to retire after the 2008-09 school year, setting into motion a superintendent selection process. Over the summer, the board selected Ray and Associates, a school executive recruitment firm based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to help conduct a search for Grohe’s replacement.

Boyce said he expects a list of applicants by December. The board will narrow the group to approximately three finalists. At that time, the community will again have an opportunity to comment, though the final decision belongs to the board. Boyce said he hopes for a selection by March 15.

The meetings this week, including tomorrow at Jenkins Creek Elementary School in Covington, will be hosted by Ray and Associates and aren’t School Board meetings. Though a member or two of the board may attend the meetings, they’re for citizens - including teachers, other district employees and neighbors - to discuss their views with the consultants without worrying about what the board may say, Boyce said.

“We want them to have the freedom to speak,” he said. “We want this to be (the citizens) working with the consultant group.”

Boyce said the purpose of the meetings is to help create a “profile” of a new superintendent. He said some people may favor financial responsibility, while others may favor diversity, for instance. Some may want a superintendent to shake things up or a schools chief who will maintain the status quo.

Ray and Associates also will meet with representatives from the teachers union and the board before delivering to the board a profile and beginning the process of advertising for a new superintendent.

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