School district zeroes in on Cheney

"Members of the South Kitsap School Board on Thursday night voted unanimously to offer the job of superintendent to Dr. Beverly J. Cheney. But contrary to published reports, the hiring process isn't quite finished yet. Cheney, a 51-year-old Seattle native who works within the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada, was chosen out of 22 candidates and five semi-finalists who vied for the position. The board selected her as its preferred candidate; assuming everything checks out and a financial package can be agreed upon, Cheney will be offered the job officially this month.We had a great pool of candidates, but we were just impressed (with Cheney), said South Kitsap School Board member Jim Huff. She said the things we wanted to hear.Cheney began her career in education teaching elementary school in Kent. In Washoe County, she worked as the senior director for educational assessment and accountability.I think the fact that she's from Washington state and familiar with Washington laws and schools is great, said Huff.School board members Mike Davis and Doug Bear will travel Reno this week to meet with school employees, students and the Washoe community about Cheney's past performanceIn this day and age, you're getting shortsighted if you believe everything on a resume, said Huff. It's a wise precaution to check. We have no reason to believe anything isn't true - we will probably be offering her the superintendency.If all is contingent when Bear and Davis return from their trip, negotiations for Cheney's salary will be discussed and administered and the search for superintendent of South Kitsap's 10,733 students will be over. Cheney's selection was based on a variety of factors, including the impression she made on the people of South Kitsap during the candidate forums held last week.We looked at what the community members said, said Huff. They all had very good things to say. For people to have input, to me, that's important. From what we were seeing, she was impressing everybody.Board members also found Cheney to have a calming, friendly quality about her, according to Huff.She's just really a high-quality person all the way around, he said. There was nothing arrogant about her. She seemed to be approachable, yet authoritative.Compared to current superintendent Bill Lahmann, who will close out the school year at the end of the month and take a similar position with the Olympia School District, Huff doesn't see too much discrepancy.I would say that she might be a little bit quieter than Bill Lahmann, but I found her quite personable, said Huff. My assessment of her is that she may have a bit of a shy streak. But I think between Bill and her, there are a lot more similarities than differences.When she makes a decision, I think she looks at all directions, Huff said. She doesn't have tunnel vision. She looks at the possible ramifications and uses collaboration. She really examines something before she puts it into effect. That's what we need. "

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