District narrows the field

"South Kitsap School Board members have narrowed the superintendent search from a field of about 30 applicants to a first cut of about five competitors.School Board members met in executive session May 29 to wade through 30 applications from people interested in becoming the new superintendent. Board members compared applicants' qualifications to a profile composed from suggestions by staff, teachers and community members, among others.Jim Huge, the consultant assisting the district with the search, went through each resume with the board and board members read over them and marked those they felt best matched the district's needs. He then pointed out the eight he felt best fit the district. It was interesting - we all arrived at the same conclusion, said School Board Chairman Jim Huff. It was just obvious that some people had the skills necessary.Huff said he applied the things he heard at the four community meetings he attended while he was looking through resumes. I tried to keep that fresh in my mind, he said. As I was reading resumes, I was mentally clicking off. I thought it was quite remarkable to have five people working independently and all arriving at the same conclusion.Huff said there was some give and take involved to eliminate another three candidates to narrow the first-round pool down to five.While community members typically identify 80 percent of the same positive characteristics for a superintendent, the other 20 percent is what identifies the perfect candidate for a district, Huge said.High ethical standards and integrity always rank at the top. People generally want someone who has been an educator and knows the education system. People want a superintendent with a strong background in budgeting and fiscal management and one who is open to using innovative ideas. People also typically want a superintendent who seeks public input and participation all the time, not just during levy elections.The superintendent has to be an active, visible part of the community, said Stacie Simmons Bates, who has a tenth-grade daughter at South Kitsap High School. Often, you go to meetings and you just don't see anybody. If it's just some person behind a door and a desk who only shows up at levy time, he loses credibility.Bob Meadows, a Port Orchard resident, said he would like a little something more. I'd like to see someone coming from a district who expects more from their students and are not giving them excuses based on socioeconomic factors. We're not the poorest district in the state. I'm tired of hearing that, he said. It takes courage to hold students responsible. Everybody talks about holding districts and teachers accountable, but nobody holds students accountable.About 187 people from as far away as Missouri either inquired into the position or were contacted by Huge. About 30 followed through with a complete application.The district has scheduled the first round of interviews beginning at 5 p.m. June 6 and at 5 p.m. June 7 at the district office. The board will meet in executive session Thursday at 7:30 p.m. to make the second cut.Huff said he's anticipating meeting the candidates during interviews Wednesday and Thursday. I'm curious to meet these people. Everybody spin doctors their resume, he said.That said, he is positive about the candidates. I'm pretty pleased with the group. I think the people in the community will be very pleased with the selection, he said. Ninety-five percent of what they wanted, they'll see in each one of them. "

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