Kent superintendent search: Board lists top qualities

The Kent School District Board of Directors is looking for a superintendent who first and foremost has the leadership skills for the challenges of an ethnically and culturally diverse community. That was the outcome of a meeting this past week to finalize the list of 10 characteristics that will be used to search for a replacement to Superintendent Barbara Grohe, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

The Kent School District Board of Directors is looking for a superintendent who first and foremost has the leadership skills for the challenges of an ethnically and culturally diverse community.

That was the outcome of a meeting this past week to finalize the list of 10 characteristics that will be used to search for a replacement to Superintendent Barbara Grohe, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

Though it was not the highest-ranked characteristic to the board itself, which cited “experience in management of district resources” as most important, experience with diversity rose to the top in the results of recent community meetings with residents, teachers, administrators and business leaders.

“Every group said one of the real strengths of this district is the cultural diversity,” said Jim Shoemake, a search consultant with Ray & Associates, the firm hired by the board to assist in finding a new superintendent.

The list of 10 characteristics was developed by representatives from Ray & Associates, the firm hired to assist with the search, and drawn from 12 meetings conducted with various groups throughout the community.

Among the other characteristics is a person who “inspires trust, self confidence and models high standards of integrity,” “will listen to input but can make a decision,” demonstrates strong communication skills, is dedicated to a “student-first” philosophy and can “develop and direct an effective team.”

The final 10 were selected from a list of 32 different characteristics passed out a series of meetings. Each of characteristics was ranked, with the top 10 becoming the search criteria.

There was some differences between the groups, however. For example, union leadership selected the diversity experience as most important while teachers want a leader who will inspire trust and the classified staff leadership team chose a willingness to listen, but to be able to make a decision when necessary.

Shoemake said he was impressed with the final list, which was culled from all groups.

“I personally cannot see any I disagree with in the top 10,” he said.

Board members agreed.

“I think these are pretty strong attributes,” Board President Bill Boyce said.

The board also settled on a salary for the incoming superintendent, deciding on a sum of $240,000 plus health benefits and vacation time, a total that is consistent with similar-sized school districts in the state.

“It’s pretty much right in line with the top 5 (largest districts),” Boyce said, adding that Tacoma’s superintendent is paid the same amount.

According to the board, Grohe’s total compensation package totals $267,000.

Shoemake said the meetings with the community were generally well-attended, especially the meeting with teachers. More importantly, he said, was the quality of responses as opposed to the quantity.

The next step in the search is to advertise nationally for qualified applicants. Shoemake said he expects to receive between 35 and 50 qualified applicants which will be reviewed by the company and narrowed to a pool of about 15 from which the board will make its selection.

“We’ll go national, but we’ll also look in state,” Shoemake said.

The board hired ray & Associates, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in August. The cost of the search is expected to be between $25,000 and $35,000.

Brian Beckley can be reached at 253-437-6012 or bbeckley@kentreporter.com


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

t
Kent Police Blotter: May 28 to June 10

Incidents include robberies at Walgreens, 7-Eleven; assaults, shots fired

t
Kent School District’s Class of 2024 high school graduates | Photos

Kent-Meridian, Kentlake, Kentridge, Kentwood, Kent Laboratory Academy graduated last weekend

Renton Police respond June 5 to a fatal shooting outside the Big 5 Sporting Goods store on South Grady Way. COURTESY PHOTO, Renton Police
Man charged in killing of Kent teen outside Renton sporting goods store

Off-duty security officer reportedly fired at least seven shots at Kent-Meridian High student

t
King County’s MLK distinguished service award goes to Kent’s Shamso Issak

Councilmember Dave Upthegrove selects Living Well Kent director for the honor

t
Renton man sentenced for 2021 murder in Kent parking lot

Receives 30-year sentence for shooting Avery Wilcox Jr.

Courtesy Photo, Kent School District
Kent School District receives clean state audit for 2022-2023

District in compliance with financial statements and activities, according to state auditor

t
Second Kent-Meridian High School student in 3 days fatally shot

Hazrat Ali Rohani, 17, killed June 5 in shooting outside of Big 5 Sporting Goods in Renton

Construction sign on SR 18. (Cameron Sires/ Sound Publishing)
WSDOT responds to stakeholders about future I-90/SR 18 projects

Construction causes concerns about congestion for freight and commuter traffic.

t
King County launches secure computer tablet program for people in custody

Phone calls, e-books and resources at jails in Seattle and Kent and youth detention facility in Seattle

t
Students receive 49 scholarships at Kent Community Foundation event

More than $100,000 awarded to high school students

Kent-Meridian High School. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District
Man, 18, found shot in parking lot identified as Kent-Meridian student | Update

Medical Examiner’s Office rules death of Cristopher Medina Zelaya a homicide

t
Federal agents arrest Kent man for allegedly distributing drugs

Mexican citizen reportedly part of drug trafficking ring in Washington, Mexico and Colombia