Hunt begins for next Camas School District superintendent

School district will host in-person ‘listening posts’ for community at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21 and at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25

Camas community members will soon have a chance to weigh in on the local school district’s hunt for a new superintendent.

The Camas School District will host two “listening posts” with staff, students, families and other interested community members next week — at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, at Discovery High School, and at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at Lacamas Lake Elementary School.

Doreen McKercher, the district’s communications director, said the September events are “opportunities for community members to provide feedback and listen to other voices.”

“Listening posts are embedded in our culture and have served us well in the past,” McKercher said. “The goal is to gather as many voices, and in multiple formats, as possible.”

Camas’ longtime superintendent Jeff Snell announced his resignation in March 2021, and took over as the superintendent of the Vancouver Public Schools district in July.

In April, the Camas School Board appointed Doug Hood, then the district’s director of elementary education, to be interim superintendent for the 2021-22 school year.

The school board also voted in April to hire 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.

A representative from McPherson & Jacobson updated school board members on the superintendent search process during the board’s workshop on Monday, Sept. 13. Although the board livestreams its workshops and meetings on YouTube, a technical glitch prevented the public from hearing the first half of the Sept. 13 workshop, including the entire portion of the superintendent search update.

McKercher told The Post-Record on Tuesday, Sept. 14, the board “had a conversation with the consultant, who indicated the (superintendent) salary range should be competitive in order to attract candidates.”

According to a salary chart provided to the school board Monday evening, the current $187,600 salary for Camas’ schools superintendent is below the salary for superintendents in many other similarly sized and smaller Washington school districts. For example, the 7,474-student Camas School District’s superintendent salary is $24,000 a year less than the superintendent of the Oak Harbor School District on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound (6,100 students), $23,000 less than Mt. Vernon School District, located about 60 miles north of Seattle (7,050 students); $39,ooo less than East Valley School District in Yakima (3,250 students); and $54,000 less than Riverview School District in King County (3,467 students).

McKercher said Camas School Board President Tracey Malone will work with the district’s business services director, Jasen McEathron, to make the salary range more in line with similarly sized school districts.

According to the district’s current timeline for finding a new schools superintendent, the district will advertise the superintendent job opening nationally on Oct. 1; hold focus groups for stakeholders and conduct an online “thought exchange” for community members in early to mid-October; set a Nov. 3 deadline for applicants; interview selected candidates in late November and early December; host site visits for top candidates the second week of December; and announce the new superintendent in mid-December.

For more information about the superintendent search, visit tendent-search.