Twenty people have applied to be Eatonville School District’s next superintendent, but the field is expected to be much smaller by this weekend.
The list of applicants – 16 of them from Washington, three from other states, and one from Norway (an American who’s working there) – will be trimmed to six by the School Board this Saturday, the next step in a process pointing toward the board hiring one of them May 1
The final choice will replace Rich Stewart, who announced in January that he will retire in June at the end of the current school year. Stewart has been superintendent since 2010.
In a practice that’s common among all school districts during superintendent selection processes, the names of Stewart’s potential successors will be kept private by the board until three finalists have been determined. Board president Bob Homan said the secrecy gives anonymity to candidates who don’t reach the finalist stage.
This Saturday’s board meeting will be closed to the public. So will interviews that the board will conduct individually with the top six candidates April 13 at the Sunrise Medical building in the South Hill area. The board plans to announce the three finalists it chooses after those interviews, which Homan said are expected to last all day.
Each of the finalists and their spouses, if they’re married, will be invited to spend a day in the school district with board members and the community April 22, 23 and 25. One candidate per day will be given time to meet the public and have dinner with the board.
The board is getting help in its selection work from McPherson and Jacobson, an Omaha, Neb.-based search and consulting firm that’s screening the applicants’ qualifications and will rate candidates based on the qualities and skills sought by the board. The criteria include communication with the public, emphasis on academic achievement, and financial and facilities management.