17 apply for Camas schools superintendent position

School board, interview panel to meet with top candidates in late November; final decision expected in mid-December

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category icon Camas, Latest News, News, Schools
Camas School Board members Corey McEnry (left) and Connie Hennessey (third from left) listen to Camas community members speak about qualities they would like to see in the schools district's next superintendent during a "listening post" event held at Lacamas Lake Elementary School on Sept. 25, 2021. (Kelly Moyer/Post-Record)

The Camas School District’s search for a new superintendent is shifting into high gear.

On Monday, Nov. 8, McPherson & Jacobson consultant Steven Lowder told Camas School Board members the district received interest from 17 applicants by its Nov. 3 deadline.

The Nebraska-based consultant group is in the process of narrowing those candidates down to a list of about 10 applicants to bring to the Camas School Board later this month.

“I’ve looked at six and (they) were outstanding applicants,” Lowder told the school board on Monday, during the board’s Nov. 8 workshop. “There’s more to do, but we will have some very good candidates for you. I think you’ll be happy.”

Former Camas School District Superintendent Jeff Snell left Camas in July 2021 to lead the nearby Vancouver Public Schools district. Before Snell’s departure, the school board appointed the district’s director of elementary education, Doug Hood, as interim superintendent for the 2021-22 school year.

The district advertised nationwide for a new superintendent and said it was seeking “a mature leader with strong interpersonal and communications skills and proven success at navigating an organization through difficult or polarizing times … who values accessibility and transparency in all things (and) will be highly visible and engaged in the community and schools.” The position’s salary range will be between $210,000 and $235,000 a year.

The school board will meet Nov. 16 in a private session to screen the applicants provided by McPherson & Jacobson and find their top candidates.

Board members said Monday they expect to invite their top superintendent candidates to Camas in late November for interviews with the school board and a panel consisting of teacher and staff representatives, school district administrators, at least one Camas student and community stakeholders.

“You want to consider who will sit on the interview panel,” Crowder advised the school board on Monday. “You will want to hear from as many voices as you can, but we recommend keeping it around 10 or 11 (members).”

The interview panel will give the board a better idea of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, but the school board will be the people ultimately in charge of selecting the new superintendent.

“The panel … will not recommend a candidate,” Lowder told the board. “That is your role.”

The school board plans to interview their top candidates and introduce them to the Camas community on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

School board members may choose to visit top candidates’ school districts the week of Dec. 6, before making their final decision.

Lowder said Monday the board should also consider the length of their contract offer.

“No one will want to come for just one year,” Lowder said. “The offer needs to be a reasonable one … I would recommend a minimum of two years, possibly three.”

The board is expected to announce its new superintendent the week of Dec. 13. The new superintendent will start their new position on July 1, 2022.

Editor’s note: This story was edited on Nov. 12, 2021, to reflect the correct spelling of Steven Lowder’s name.