Washougal School Board seeking new leader

Superintendent Michael Stromme leaving school district in July

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The Washougal School District’s hunt for a new superintendent has begun.

At a Jan. 23 board meeting, the Washougal School Board selected Northwest Leadership Associates to help the district find its next superintendent of schools.

The district’s current chief of schools, Superintendent Dr. Michael Stromme, recently announced that he will leave WSD this summer to rejoin Vancouver Public Schools as that district’s associate superintendent for administrative services.

The board heard presentations during the Jan. 23 meeting from two consultant agencies, NextUp Leadership and Northwest Leadership Associates.

Washougal School Board Chairman Cory Chase said the Board couldn’t have asked for two better candidates.

Founded by Dr. Dennis Ray, a former superintendent for the Walla Walla and Northshore school districts in Washington, as well as a former associate professor at Washington State University, Northwest Leadership Associates has helped more than 240 school districts in Washington and Oregon find their next superintendents.

The company’s consultant, Roger Rada, another former superintendent, presented Northwest Leadership’s process to the Board on Jan. 23. He said Glenys Hill, another Northwest Leadership consultant and director of Washington State University’s superintendents preparation program, will assist in the superintendent search.

To start the process, the company will develop a “leadership profile” to serve as the backbone of the recruiting, screening and interviewing process, Rada said.

The Northwest Leadership consultants plan to spend at least two days talking to people throughout the school district and Washougal community, to pinpoint some overarching “themes” to guide the superintendent search.

The School Board will host a community meeting to discuss desired superintendent qualifications from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the Columbia River Gorge/Jemtegaard school, 35300 S.E. Evergreen Hwy., Washougal. If community members hope to weigh in, but cannot attend the meeting, they can fill out an online survey at

Once they’ve gathered a set of common themes, Rada and Glenys will present their findings to the School Board and develop a promotional brochure explaining the strengths of the district, challenges for the next superintendent, and the desired professional qualifications and personal characteristics.

The Northwest Leadership consultants’ Jan. 23 presentation briefly outlined the entire search process. After developing the “themes” brochure, the consultants will begin to screen potential candidates, provide reference checks and then present information on each of the final superintendent candidates to the Washougal School Board. The finalists then enter into an interview process, meet stakeholder groups and tour Washougal schools facilities. The Board conducts final screenings, hold open sessions to consider each of the candidates and choose the next superintendent from that final batch of candidates.

Northwest Leadership consultants told the School Board on Jan. 23 that the process is a model that can be modified to best fit the district’s needs.