The Camas School Board voted unanimously on Thursday, April 1, to appoint Doug Hood, the district’s director of elementary education, as the district’s interim superintendent for the 2021-22 school year.
Jeff Snell, who has led the district for the past decade — serving first as deputy superintendent from 2011 to 2016 and as the district’s superintendent since 2016 — announced his departure last month, after being named the new superintendent of the Vancouver Public Schools district. Snell plans to start his new position in July.
The school board also announced it has hired the Omaha, Nebraska-based search firm, McPherson & Jacobson, which recently led the search for Vancouver’s new schools head, to help find Camas’ next superintendent.
School board members said April 1, during a special board meeting, that appointing an interim superintendent for the next school year and hiring a search firm would allow for a more thoughtful search.
“Hiring a search firm allows our community and staff to be involved,” said board member Connie Hennessey.
“As we continue to gather input (from the community), having an interim superintendent allows us to really get this right,” added board member Corey McEnry, “and lays the groundwork to talk about who this community is really looking for.”
“What our district and community needs most right now is stability,” McEnry said, adding that appointing Hood to the interim position “will allow for that stability.”
Camas School Board President Tracey Malone said that, although Snell’s departure “leaves big shoes to fill,” she is looking at the yearlong hunt for a new superintendent as a chance for the district “to learn and grow.”
Hood is in his third year with the Camas School District. He and his wife of 23 years, Angela Hood, moved to Camas with their three children — Camas High School students Aidan, 17, and Kendall, 15, as well as 12-year-old Lauren, a Liberty Middle School student — in 2011.
“As with many people who relocated to this area, the schools, beautiful surroundings, and the quaintness of the community were a perfect fit for our family,” Hood recently told the Post-Record. “As an individual who loves to be outside every chance I get, I love Camas (and) Southwest Washington for its natural beauty. We are tremendously blessed to work, live and play in such an outdoor-friendly community. The trails for running or hiking keep me occupied throughout the year as these activities give me a chance to reconnect with family and friends. Enjoying the splendor with others is part of the connection that I love about our area.”
Hood worked for the Vancouver Public Schools district as an elementary school teacher, reading specialist, principal and administrator for 22 years before taking a position with the Camas School District in 2018.
“Living in Camas and having three children in the district drew me to eventually leave (Vancouver Public Schools),” Hood said. “The vision and leadership from the (Camas) school board and Dr. Snell were definitely factors in my decision. I also wanted to serve in a role that allowed me to collaborate with principals, teachers, school staff, students and parents on a personal level. While I had done this on a larger scale previously, the size of Camas School District (allowed) for more of a personal connection with the school community.”
As Camas’ interim superintendent, Hood said he would try to continue the vision crafted by Snell and the entire Camas school community.
“Dr. Snell built a tremendously positive school system that puts student learning and student voice at the center of decision making. This vision will continue to be at the center of our work,” Hood said. “In addition, to continue our equity work as we examine our practices and systems to ensure that our students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their passions and who they are as individuals.”
Hood said he knows the 2021-22 school year will come with challenges as well as opportunities.
“Providing educational opportunities for students and families during a pandemic is and will be a challenge that we must navigate,” Hood said, adding that some of his focus will be on “understanding the social and emotional well-being of our students and staff” as well as ensuring the safety of students, staff and the school community.
“I am very excited about the collaborative nature in our schools and community as we will ultimately need every member contributing if we are going to reach positive outcomes for each and every student,” Hood added.