Gateway: News

Search firm chosen by school board to help find new superintendent

The Peninsula School District’s Board of Directors took a big step forward in the search for a new superintendent by choosing a search firm to assist with the process.

After interviewing two search firms — McPherson & Jacobson LLC and Northwest Leadership Associates — the board decided at its Dec. 17 meeting to hire Northwest Leadership Associates to assist in the superintendent search.

Board President Rand Wilhelmsen said that one of the big goals the board identified in choosing a search firm was enlisting a company that would be willing to work closely with it.

“Both firms are highly qualified,” he said. “(But) we felt (Northwest Leadership) had a better grasp on our district.”

Northwest Leadership seemed to better understand the unique nature of the Peninsula School District, Wilhelmsen said.

“It’s really important to get someone with contacts in the area and the country who can cast a wide net for applicants,” he said.

The superintendent opening has been posted online and the details about the job description will be finalized during the next board meeting on Jan. 7.

The board has already decided on some basic qualifications for the candidates seeking the superintendent position, Wilhelmsen said.

Those qualifications include someone who is an instructional leader, someone who possesses good leadership and managerial qualities and is experienced in managing a budget. The district is looking for a candidate interested in a long-term position who is willing to work closely with the board, he said.

The ideal candidate would also be able to connect with the community to raise support and garner excitement about local schools. As the hiring process moves forward, the board will be looking for community input about what is important in a superintendent.

“We’re ahead of the timeline (and) ahead of most other schools,” Wilhelmsen said, adding that this provides an advantage to be more selective in the hiring process. “We have a great school district, which helps. We’re willing to wait for the right candidate.”

Current Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto is retiring at the end of the school year.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea