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District plans timeline to replace superintendent

Marysville School Board member Pete Lundberg pledges on Jan. 7 that the process of selecting Dr. Larry Nyland’s replacement as superintendent will be diligent and transparent. - Kirk Boxleitner
Marysville School Board member Pete Lundberg pledges on Jan. 7 that the process of selecting Dr. Larry Nyland’s replacement as superintendent will be diligent and transparent.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — On Jan. 7, the Marysville School District Board of Directors named Northwest Leadership Associates as its search consultant for the process of selecting a replacement for Dr. Larry Nyland as superintendent, but this is merely the first step in what all the Board members have said they hope will be a fully transparent process.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to reach out to the community, and to show them what’s going on,” said Marysville School Board Legislative Representative Dr. Tom Albright, who laughed, “I do hope we only have to do this every 10 years or so, though.”

On Jan. 8, the open superintendent position was posted on not only the MSD website, but also those for the Washington Association of School Administrators, the Washington State School Directors’ Association, Northwest Leadership Associates and the American Association of School Administrators.

According to the proposed timeline presented by John Fotheringham of Northwest Leadership Associates, consultants will be made available to staff and community groups during the months of January and February, to seek their input on the superintendent selection criteria, which the Board will further define during the month of February.

“A large cross-section of the community will be involved through their input,” Marysville School Board member Pete Lundberg said. “I look forward to hearing what people from all walks of life have to say.”

Paper and electronic surveys of Board members, parents, and staff and community members will culminate in a Board work study to review the search criteria on Feb. 11, so that the search criteria and application materials can be made available on request to applicants starting Feb. 12. The job announcement brochure will be published Jan. 23, and the application deadline is March 11.

On March 16, the search consultant is slated to make a screening report available to the Board, reviewing the background of each applicant and making recommendations to Board, which will then select candidates to be invited for preliminary interviews. The consultant will provide sample interview questions and help the Board prepare for interviews of four to six semifinalists on March 23, after those semifinalists have been announced on March 18. Following recommendations by observers representing school district staff and patrons, the Board will select two to three finalists.

“This is a heavy responsibility,” Marysville School Board member Cindy Erickson said. “Getting input from as many segments of the community as possible will help us to choose good candidates, but it’s not necessarily going to be an easy choice.”

March 25, 26 and 27 will be set aside for full-day district visitations for up to three finalists, one on each day. Each finalist candidate will spend the entire day in meetings with staff and community groups, complete with 45-minute question-and-answer sessions and comment forms for participants to express their opinions and rate the candidates. The Board’s deliberations will commence on March 27, so that the new superintendent can be hired no later than March 30 according to the Northwest Leadership Associates timeline, well in advance of the new superintendent’s July 1 deadline to report for duty.

“It’s going to be an interesting three months,” Albright said.

“I know Larry’s retirement will mean the difference between him working 40 hours a week rather than 80, but it’s hard to lose such a good and valued friend,” Marysville School Board President Chris Nation said. “He talked me into putting my name on the ballot, and he’s been a wonderful community partner.”

 

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