The Washougal School District board of directors will likely hire the district’s next superintendent Friday, April 27, after four final candidates were interviewed, Wednesday, April 25, in Columbia River Gorge Elementary and Jemtegaard Middle School commons, in Washougal.
The candidates each had 45 minute interview sessions with the school board, teachers and staff, administrators and the community.
The four superintendent candidates all come from Washington State school districts, and include: JoAnne Fabian, chief academic officer for Tukwila School District; Jared Hoadley, assistant superintendent of the Mead School District; Ellen Perconti, superintendent of the Mary M. Knight School District, in Elma; and Mary Templeton, human resources director for certified personnel in the Spokane Public Schools district.
Fabian, who has 28 years of experience in education, said in her interview that most of her career has been served in alternative schools that often focus on at risk learners, alternative programs and finding ways to think outside the box when it comes to instruction.
When asked by the interview moderator how the district can ensure that students who live in poverty and experience trauma become successful learners, Fabian said she has worked in high poverty environments and with children who experience trauma from a variety of perspectives and experiences.
“For me, the very most important and first thing for us to do is ensure the teachers have the skills they need to understand and intervene in appropriate ways so that they can support students as they move through trauma experiences,” Fabian said.
The process to get teachers to that point involves professional development and helping teachers so that they feel supported, she said.
Candidate Hoadley has spent 11 years as an elementary teacher and nine as a principal, among other roles in Eastern Washington school districts. He said that he would strengthen the Washougal community by being visible, listening and ensuring the district is providing meaningful events for the community to be involved in within schools.
Current superintendent of Mary M. Knight School District, Perconti, began her career in education as a substitute teacher and has since served as an elementary music teacher, director of curriculum and principal.
In her interview, Perconti said that her role is to be a servant leader in public education systems and that she is a very passionate person, which is shown through perseverance.
Perconti said that making sure there is a regularity of face-to-face meetings with different parent, staff or union groups is important, as well as, being present in school buildings on a regular basis and in the community.
Templeton, who has 27 years of education experience including 15 of those as a classroom teacher, said the superintendent should be visible and physically there within the local community.
As a superintendent, Templeton said she would also serve as an advocate and voice for the Washougal School District at the state level.
“I’m very interested and passionate about that,” she said. “Advocating strongly for what schools need to those who are making decisions about schools who don’t live in schools.”
For updates, look to the Post-Record’s website and next print edition on Thursday, May 3.