Sumner School Board members voted unanimously this week to hire an educator from the central Oregon Coast as the next superintendent for the 8,400-student district.
Pending successful contract negotiations, Sara E. Johnson would begin her new job in the East Pierce County district on July 1. She is currently assistant superintendent in the Lincoln County School District in Newport, Ore.
Johnson was one of 32 applicants, largely from the Pacific Northwest. Seven finalists were identified and interviewed.
Johnson would replace Craig Spencer, who has been interim superintendent since 2011.
Spencer was named to the district’s top job temporarily following a divisive break between the school board and former Superintendent Gil Mendoza in 2011. Spencer would return to his previous job as assistant superintendent for administrative services.
Sumner Board President Paul Bucich said in a news release that Johnson possesses the key qualities the board sought in a superintendent. He also thanked Spencer for his leadership during the transition.
The board authorized search consultant Lee Goeke to begin contract negotiations with Johnson.
The superintendent search began in May 2012. As part of the recruiting and hiring process, the board and Goeke developed a profile of an effective superintendent. Input came from more than 800 students, families, staff and community members who participated in a survey.
Focus groups looked at the survey data and defined the most urgent issues facing Sumner, along with the experience and education a new superintendent would need to be successful. The board screened applicants based on those and other criteria, including previous success as a classroom teacher and administrator and a strong background in curriculum and instructional leadership.
The board scheduled interviews with the seven finalists on Feb. 21 and 22, then settled on Johnson Wednesday evening.Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635 debbie.cafazzo@ thenewstribune.com