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Superintendent search reviews survey responses

Marysville School District Board Vice President Wendy Fryberg, left, and President Chris Nation review the results of the superintendent search criteria survey on Feb. 11. - Kirk Boxleitner
Marysville School District Board Vice President Wendy Fryberg, left, and President Chris Nation review the results of the superintendent search criteria survey on Feb. 11.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Feb. 11 was the Marysville School District's deadline to solicit community input on its search for a new superintendent, and members of the MSD Board of Directors sat down with Dr. Wayne Robertson of Northwest Leadership Associates to try and quantify the hundreds of responses, most of them from parents and teachers, that the school district had received to survey forms that the district had printed out and posted online.

"Although we sought to categorize the comments by how frequently each one was offered, we admit that this is subjective, since we're deciding if people have said the same things in different ways," Robertson said. "We also knew we wanted to adjust our application and selection criteria depending on the input we received. That being said, there were no real surprises in the responses we received."

Robertson noted that a number of respondents expressed concerns with responding properly to the district's diversity, and while he deemed residency for the new superintendent to be "a mixed bag," criteria such as longevity, visibility and accessibility "were high on everybody's lists."

Robertson explained that the online job listings for the Marysville School District superintendent would soon be amended to reflect the community's priorities, and pointed out that candidates still have roughly a month to submit or revise their applications.

"So, should we insist that applicants be willing to live in the community, or be visible in the community, or both?" outgoing MSD Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland said. "Because nobody told me I had to move here. I just knew that, if I didn't, I wouldn't survive in this job."

"If they're not willing to make that effort, a lot could be read into that," Assistant Superintendent Gail Miller said. "That could impact how people vote on bonds and levies."

Board President Chris Nation summed up the survey responses as asking for a candidate "who's one-half educational leader and one-half financial wizard," at the same time that he asked whether experience in passing bonds and levies should be made an explicit criterion, since the survey results were vague on that point.

"We don't want to make it seem like that's all we care about, though," Board member Cindy Erickson said.

"If they know our history, they'll think to bring it up themselves," Board Vice President Wendy Fryberg said.

Even with the input from the surveys, the Board will need to do some prioritization of its own, since as Robertson observed, "There's an eight-way tie just for the number-one criterion on our list."

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