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Superintendent search set for St. Helens schools

School board plans to interview candidates, choose finalists, make hiring decision next month

The board of directors for the St. Helens School District unanimously approved a timeline for its search for a new schools superintendent Wednesday, April 22.

After Mark Davalos submitted his resignation last month to take a superintendent position in Centralia, Wash., the school board decided two weeks ago to attempt to select a permanent successor by the end of May. Under the timeline, it will conduct a preliminary screening for finalists at a special meeting next Wednesday, April 29, and interview candidates next month.

The board will also meet at 5:30 p.m. next Thursday in the district office to consider public and staff input into what qualifications the ideal candidate should have.

Interviews will be conducted and finalists officially selected on Wednesday, May 6, with a closed-door session in Columbia City School. A second interview and community forum for one or more finalists is then scheduled for the third week of May, with the final selection to be announced no later than the scheduled May 27 board meeting.

The new superintendent would start work on July 1, the day after Davalos is set to depart.

The board also approved a tentative salary range of $115,000 to $145,000, with Davalos’ current $130,000 salary sitting squarely in the middle of the range.

The school board will be assisted in its search for a new executive by a volunteer interview committee.

The school board held a special meeting last Wednesday, April 15, to select hiring committee members and develop criteria for hiring a new superintendent.

Committee members include the assistant principals of both Lewis & Clark and McBride elementary schools, the principal of St. Helens High School, the district’s special education coordinator, the executive assistant to the school board, and a school board candidate and budget committee member, Trinity Monahan.

Two other school board candidates — Julie Farrell and Melody Killens — were selected as alternatives for the committee.

The committee also includes all five school board members.