Six superintendent finalists selected, public invited to interviews

Six finalists have been selected for the superintendent position at the Vashon Island School District, and the public is invited to attend an all-day interview session with them on Saturday.

The interviews will take place at Chautauqua Elementary school, in room 302, each starting on the hour, beginning at 8 a.m., according to Board Chair Zabette Macomber. Each interview is slated to last 45 minutes. There will be a break at 11:15 a.m. for those who want to attend the March for our Lives event on the island; the interview sessions will resume at 12:30 p.m. The final interview of the day will begin at 2:30 p.m.

The five board members will conduct the interviews, but members of the public who attend will be given comment sheets to write down their observations, both negative and positive. Spanish translation will be available. The written comments will guide the board in narrowing down the choices to the top three candidates, Macomber said — a process the board will undertake after the interviews on Saturday.

“We want public input,” she added. “It is the five of us who will make the decision, but we cannot make the decision without hearing how the community feels. The community will guide us in making the best decision we can make.”

More than 40 people showed interest in the position, and 17 applied, which is considered a high number in this type of search, she said.

“That is good for us. It puts us in a really good position,” she added. “We have some really good candidates.”

The board was pleased with community response to the online survey regarding desired priorities for the superintendent. The firm helping with the search indicated that receiving 100 responses is typical; the board received more than 300. The top most desired qualities included strong leadership capabilities, appreciation for community, the ability to strengthen the special education program and respect for racial equity.

The three finalists will return to the island March 26 to 28 to answer questions from the public in evening meetings. The meeting for the Spanish-speaking community will be from 6:45 to 7:15 p.m. each night followed by a general public meeting from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. These meetings will be held in the high school theater. During the days, the candidates will meet with faculty and staff at all three schools.

The board will meet in executive session on Thursday, March 29, to choose the new superintendent.

The six finalists are Shaun Carey, Ed.D., ​assistant superintendent at the Franklin Pierce School District; Trevor Greene, executive director of human resources at the Highline School District; Eric Hong, Ed.D., ​school improvement officer in the Kent School District; Steve Leifsen, director of instructional leadership at Chief Leschi Schools in Puyallup; Slade McSheehy, Ed.D., assistant superintendent at the Hockinson School District in Bruch Prairie, Washington, and Marion Smith Jr., Ed.D., regional director of K – 12 Learning, Leadership & Student Success at the Puget Sound Educational Service District in Renton.

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