What kind of schools chief do you want? Give your input

Members of the Kent Community will have their opportunity to weigh in on exactly what kind of superintendent they want in charge of their school district during a series of meetings Oct. 1 and 2 in locales around the school district.

Members of the Kent Community will have their opportunity to weigh in on exactly what kind of superintendent they want in charge of their school district during a series of meetings Oct. 1 and 2 in locales around the school district.

“We want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to give input,” said Kent School Board President Bill Boyce. “It’s open to the whole community.”

This past spring, Superintendent Barbara Grohe announced her plans to retire at the end of the current school year, setting into motion a new superintendent-selection process.

This summer, the school board selected Ray & Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to help conduct a search for Grohe’s replacement.

The meetings this week will be hosted by Ray & Associates and are not school-board meetings.

Boyce said the purpose of the meetings is to allow all interested members of the community to help create a “profile” of the district’s new superintendent. Boyce said it was important to know what skill set the community wanted the board to seek during the search.

Boyce said some community members may favor financial responsibility while others may favor diversity while still others may focus on another issue entirely. Some may want a superintendent to shake things up while others may want a schools chief who will maintain the status quo.

Only by collecting and combining data from local input, will the board get a full picture of the leadership that Kent residents are seeking.

Boyce also said though a member or two of the board may attend the meeting, it represents an opportunity for citizens – including teachers, union members and neighbors – to discuss their views with the consultants, without worrying about what the board may say.

“We want them to have the freedom to speak,” Boyce said. “We want this to be (the citizens) working with the consultant group.”

The consultant group also will be meeting with representatives from the teachers union as well as the leadership team and the board of education. Once completed, they will deliver to the board a profile and begin the process of advertising for a new superintendent.

Boyce said he expects a list of applicants by December, at which point, the board will narrow the group to approximately three finalists. At that time the community will again have an opportunity to comment, though the final decision belongs to the board.

Boyce said he hopes to make a selection by March 15.

There will be three opportunities for members of the community to comment on the process: 10 a.m. Oct. 1 at the Kent School District Administration Center Board Room, 12033 SE 256th St., Kent; 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at Emerald Park Elementary, 11899 SE 216th St., Kent; and 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at Jenkins Creek Elementary, 26915 186th Ave. SE, Covington.

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


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