Choices narrow: School board to select superintendent from within

October 2009 Posted in Business, News, School

By Kristine Thomas

For more information about the candidates, click for interviews with Andy Bellando and Linda Myers. The Silver Falls School District board will review the candidates in executive session Nov. 9.

Either Andy Bellando or Linda Myers will be the next superintendent of the Silver Falls School District.

School board members unanimously agreed at the Oct. 5 meeting to hire an internal candidate rather open the search to candidates outside the district. The board met in executive session on Oct. 12 and will review the candidates Oct. 26.

The hiring decision will be made at the Nov. 9 meeting.  After a contract has been completed, the person selected will work closely with Superintendent Craig Roessler, who will retire in June.

Bellando is the district’s director of personnel. He received his master’s degree from Oregon State University and his education administration certification from Portland State and Willamette universities.

Myers is the district’s curriculum director and the principal of Victor Point Elementary School. She received her master’s degree from Western Oregon University and her administrative license program from George Fox University.

School board Chairman Wally Lierman said board members decided to keep the search internal for several reasons, including that they don’t want to change the direction the district is heading and don’t want to take the risk of changing the culture that has been built in the district.

“We have two very qualified candidates that we trust and feel very comfortable with,” Lierman said. “In looking at what other districts have done, it appears that districts that have been able to hire within for the superintendent position have fared much better in terms of district health.

“When going external, you really do not know what you are getting and a person that may be in a good fit in one district may not be a good fit in a different one.”

Lierman said the Silver Falls School District is unique with its many small schools and communities represented. The board and district staff has “taken great care in allowing site-based decisions, so that real choices can be made at the site level and we do not want to see that change. This is not how other districts typically operate.”

While board members are committed to continuous improvement, they agreed they are not seeking a major redirection of the district or a significant change in the culture of the school district.

“We have a district that strives for educational excellence in the classroom and cares for students,” Lierman said. “We are actively striving to continually improve classroom instruction in every classroom.”

Lierman said the district values parental input in their child’s education and strives to create a good place to work for its employees. The district has a good reputation throughout Oregon and the board has a history of acting conservatively with its operational budget, avoiding crisis.

Lierman said the board members felt they needed a month to think about which candidate is better suited to lead the district at this time and allow time for more discussion between board members and to consider additional input from staff and community members.

“This is a major decision for the board and is one that will directly impact the district for the next decade or longer,” Lierman said.

Staff or community members who would like to share thoughts with the school board are asked to email Board Secretary Denise Childs at childs_denise@silverfalls.k12.or.us.

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