Vashon’s search for a new superintendent ended last week after a series of interviews and considerable community input. In the end, the school board chose Slade McSheehy, who is currently the assistant superintendent at the Hockinson School District, near Vancouver, Washington.
Last Friday, following the decision, school board chair Zabette Macomber said McSheehy offered much of what the community wanted: someone with a sense of community, a strong background in special education and belief in the importance of racial equity work.
“He really offered so many of those things,” she said, adding, “I really think he is going to be a really good fit.”
She noted that the board “easily came to consensus” in selecting him.
For his part, on Friday McSheehy said he is excited to be coming to Vashon.
He grew up in a small town in Florida and wanted to return to small-town living with his wife and two boys, he said.
After learning more about Vashon, he said it became clear that his background and values fit well with what the district leaders and community members were looking for.
Beyond those priorities, he noted that he is interested in increasing opportunities for non-college bound students. And he said he wants to ensure that all students feel that they belong in the school community.
“My mission is that every kid every day feels like it is a home game to them. … If they don’t feel like they belong, we are not going to get to the academic part,” he said.
While on Vashon, McSheehy, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership, met with district leaders, faculty, staff and students in a long day that ended with a community meeting at night. Each of the three final candidates participated in the same schedule. In the end, one of them, Shaun Carey, withdrew, Macomber said.
Between now and the end of the school year, McSheehy said he will spend three to five days on Vashon as part of the transition and begin on July 1.
The board felt lucky with all of the candidates, Macomber said, calling it a “really good race.”
“We are very, very happy with our choice,” she added. “I think he will do a great job.”