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Riverdale panel interviewing superintendent candidates


Community says it wants a good communicator with integrity

A Riverdale School District screening committee is interviewing applicants this week for the open superintendent position.

The previous superintendent, Brook MacNamara, resigned in the fall, and her successor is scheduled to step into the position in July after a spring search effort that has included a public survey.

Meanwhile, interim superintendent Michael Taylor has taken the reins. Taylor is also a member of the screening committee, along with school board members, school district administrators, the grade school and high school principals, teachers, other school employees and parents.Taylor

A regular superintendent wouldn’t be a part of the search process. Taylor isn’t applying, saying he is on his third retirement and is a part of a pool of superintendents who take on interim roles to help out school districts in need of a leader.

The community offered its priorities for a superintendent last month during meetings, focus groups, personal interviews and an online survey. Some 84 people took part in the survey. Survey respondents said the top three things that are working well and need to be preserved in the district are music and art programs, small class sizes and up-to-date school facilities. The top three things respondents said needed improvement were stabilization of administrator turnover, funding and teacher professional development. The three most valued personal and professional characteristics were good communication skills, integrity/honesty and a willingness to make tough decisions. The results influenced what the school board listed as qualifications and what was included in search materials and postings.

“From the hundreds of individual ideas expressed by various respondents, the information was sorted into common themes and filtered for the most frequently mentioned items,” said search consultant Greg McKenzie in his memo to the school board about public input.

McKenzie scoured the state for viable candidates. Taylor did not release how many people submitted applications for the position before the March 29 closing date because he didn’t want a hint of impropriety.

“Applicants are real sensitive about the integrity of the process because they still are working at school districts and need to maintain their credibility,” Taylor said.

The screening committee interviewed candidates on Wednesday and will continue today, holding second interviews for finalists May 1 to 2, according to the school district website. The district will announce the selection in May, and the board will offer a contract to the candidate at a May 20 public meeting. The new head of the district is scheduled to settle in the position on July 1.

The superintendent will be in charge of 540 students at two schools, one from preschool to eighth grade and one from grades nine to 12. The student body for the schools is composed of resident and non-resident students who attend on a tuition or transfer basis. Three transfer students are from Lake Oswego, said Bob Barman, Lake Oswego School District board member.

The position’s primary duties include handling district operations, but because it is a smaller school district, the superintendent also will serve as the chief financial officer and curriculum director, Taylor said. The district’s numerous programs and high community expectations “make this job more complex,” he added.MacNamara

Criteria for Riverdale School District superintendent applicants include teaching experience at a secondary or elementary school; service as a school superintendent or district-level administrator; a master’s degree or doctorate in education, preferably education administration; and an Oregon administrative license with superintendent endorsement or eligibility for a transitional license.

Former superintendent Brook MacNamara began at Riverdale in 2010 and resigned in October because of a severe illness. An update on her condition was not available, said Jody Haagenson, school district spokeswoman.