Kent School Board names two finalists for superintendent

The Kent School Board has narrowed its search for a new superintendent to two candidates and expects to announce the new head of the school district at its Wednesday, March 25 board meeting.

The Kent School Board has narrowed its search for a new superintendent to two candidates and expects to announce the new head of the school district at its Wednesday, March 25 board meeting.

The board gathers at 7 p.m. at the Administration Center, 12033 SE 256th St., Kent.

David Moyer and Calvin J. Watts were selected from more than 30 applicants, said Faith Sisley, a Kent School District spokesperson. The school board conducted 11 virtual interviews and then met with five of those candidates in person before selecting the finalists, Sisley said.

“We have received high-quality applications from a number of qualified candidates and we are confident we have excellent finalists who embody the qualities and characteristics our community desires,” school board president Debbie Straus said in a press release.

Moyer is superintendent of Moline-Coal Valley School District in Moline, Ill., which serves 7,500 students, employs 1,150 certificated and classified staff members and has a $116 million budget. He previously worked for the Burlington Area School District in Wisconsin, the Community High School District 117 and the McHenry High School District 156 both in Illinois.

Moyer has a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree in physical education and sports administration from Eastern Kentucky University. He also has a master’s degree in educational administration, a superintendent’s endorsement and a doctorate in educational administration from Northern Illinois University.

Watts is an assistant superintendent in Gwinnett County Public Schools in Suwanee, Ga., which has 174,500 students, 15,600 certificated and classified staff members and a $1.7 billion budget. Watts previously worked for Seattle Public Schools, Atlanta Public Schools, Carrollton City Schools in Georgia and The Archdiocese of Atlanta.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Howard University and received his teaching certification at Western Washington University. He has a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of West Georgia and a doctorate in educational leadership from Argosy University in Atlanta.

The new superintendent replaces Edward Lee Vargas, who stepped down in October after six years in Kent to accept a job as executive vice president of AVID, a national nonprofit college readiness program in California. Tony Apostle, a retired Puyallup School District superintendent, is serving as interim superintendent.

Ray and Associates Inc. of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which specializes in educational executive leadership candidate searches and recruitment for public schools, private schools and higher education institutions, was contracted by the board in late November to oversee the search.

For more information about the search process, go to kent.k12.wa.us/domain/859.

The Kent School District serves more than 70 square miles of South King County, including the cities of Kent and Covington, and portions of Auburn, Black Diamond, Maple Valley, Renton and SeaTac. It is one of the most diverse districts in the state with more than 130 languages spoken by its students and families.

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