Peninsula School District search for a new superintendent

Sara Thompson

When Peninsula School District Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto announced his retirement, the school board found itself with a big addition to its job description –– hiring his replacement. That process is now underway, and residents have a chance to weigh in.

The board’s first step was to hire NW Leadership Associates to guide the process. The firm has advertised the position through postings and interpersonal connections.

Mark Venn and Wayne Robertson, the principals of NW Leadership Associates, held 30 focus groups with a wide range of constituents including community leaders, parents, students, staff and administrators.

They asked three questions No. 1: What is working in the Peninsula District and what are you proud of? No. 2: What are the challenges? No. 3: What attributes are you looking for in a superintendent?

Venn and Robinson summarized their findings at a school board meeting on Feb 11.

There were common threads describing desirable attributes in a superintendent. They included involvement and visibility, promotion of partnerships, passion, strong communication skills, background and experience as an educator, creativity, understanding and experience in finance, and courage in decision making.

“The focus group input we received will be very valuable to the board as they make the decision and move forward on hiring a new Peninsula superintendent. Wayne Robertson and I have enjoyed working with the board and the community and look forward to continuing the search and presenting the board with a high quality group of candidates,” Venn said.

They received 25 inquiries, and applications to the position closed Feb 23.

The next steps will be to screen the applicants and to present them to the board to narrow the pool to five or six semi-finalists.

Those applicants will be interviewed individually on March 5. Community members are welcome to attend and will be provided with comment cards which the board will review at the end of the day. The board will then meet in a closed executive session to narrow the field to three finalists.

Finalists will be interviewed on three separate days, Mar 14, 15 and 16. An open community meeting is scheduled each day. Community members will be provided with comment cards to be reviewed by the board, and after the community meeting the board will conduct an additional interview.

At a final executive session, the board will determine whether they can then make a final decision or if they need further information.

The board plans to hire the new superintendent by spring so he or she has an ample opportunity to get oriented prior to Superintendent Cuzzetto’s retirement in July.

Selection of the Superintendent: Community Participation Interviews of semifinalists at an all-day open public meeting When: March 5 Time: 8:30 a.m. at the District office Q &A with individual finalists March 14, 15, 16 Time: 6:30 p.m. at Henderson Bay High School 8402 Skansie Avenue, Gig Harbor, WA 98332[/box]