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Semifinalists for Multnomah district superintendent named

Committee strives to be transparent in its search for new leader

Multnomah Education Service District is taking steps to be more transparent in its latest search for a new superintendent.

The umbrella district that provides special education, technology and other services to the county’s eight school districts has been without a permanent superintendent since the board mysteriously and suddenly put Barbara Jorgensen on leave March 17. Jorgensen’s second-in-command, Jim Rose, was immediately made interim superintendent but has since asked to resume his position as chief operating officer. Rose has been on intermittent family medical leave since December due to his wife's struggle with cancer.

A temporary interim superintendent, Scott Perry, is on a month-to-month contract to head the district, until the new superintendent can start.

The first search for a permanent superintendent was ultimately decided to be too rushed, but that was after candidates Karen Fischer Gray, superintendent of Parkrose School District, and Stephen Phillips, superintendent of Malheur County Education Service District, were publicly named as finalists.

This time, MESD has even made its semifinalists public. They are:COURTESY: MULTNOMAH EDUCATION SERVICE DISTRICT - David Bautista, assistant superintendent at the Oregon Department of Education.

• David Bautista, currently an assistant superintendent at the Oregon Department of Education. Having earned dual bachelor's degrees at the University of Guadelajara, Mexico, and masters of arts and educational specialist degrees from the University of Arizona, Bautista is well-versed in multicultural and multilingual education needs. He was superintendent at the Woodburn School District until 2013.

• Samuel Breyer, currently superintendent of Centennial School District, a constituent of MESD. Breyer was principal at Butler Creek Elementary and then a district administrator focused on using data to improve school performance. Prior to his education degrees from Willamette University and Lewis & Clark College, he was a U.S. Marine, according to the Gresham Outlook.COURTESY: MULTNOMAH EDUCATION SERVICE DISTRICT - Sam Breyer, superintendent of the Centennial School District, is a semi-finalist for the superintendent of Multnomah Education Service District.

• Stephen Aguirre, currently executive director of the High Plains Regional Education Cooperative in northern New Mexico. The HPREC, which Aguirre has led since 1998, serves eight rural school districts. Aguirre has degrees from Adams State University and New Mexico Highlands University and was president of the national association for education service agencies. Aguirre also is a finalist for southcentral Washington's Educational Service District 105 superintendent.COURTESY: MULTNOMAH EDUCATION SERVICE DISTRICT - Stephen Aguirre, executive director of the High Plains Regional Education Cooperative in northern New Mexico.

MESD board vice chair Stephen Marc Beaudoin, who is chair of the superintendent search committee said the district is showing openness and transparency by releasing the names of the semifinalists.

“The next superintendent will play a critical role in the future of MESD and, because of the excellence of our work, there is naturally a high degree of community interest in this decision,” Beaudoin said in a news release from MESD. “Naming the semifinalists this early in the process really shows the value and support they have for openness and transparency as well."

The district said 17 candidates had emerged by the application deadline, Feb. 16. That is significantly more than the seven candidates that applied during the previous search last spring.

The 15-member search committee met in closed session Tuesday, Feb. 23, to narrow the list. The committee will publicly interview the semifinalists today and Wednesday, March 2. (See below.)

The committee will winnow the list again in a closed session March 8. An announcement of the finalists will then be made March 9.

The board expects to choose a new superintendent before spring break in mid-March.

The new chief is likely to start at the beginning of the fiscal year, in July.

Public invited to interviews

Semifinalist Public Interviews

The semifinalists for Multnomah Education Service District superintendent will participate in public interviews with the school board and search committee from 2:30-5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, March 2, at the Ainsworth Building, 11611 N.E. Ainsworth Circle.

Semifinalist Social/Meet and Greet

Meet the three semifinalists for Multnomah Education Service District superintendent from 5 to 6:30 Tuesday night at the Ainsworth Building, 11611 NE Ainsworth Circle.