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Sumner School Board Selects Top Superintendent Candidate

The board voted unanimously during a special meeting Wednesday to hire Dr. Sara E. Johnson, who currently serves as assistant superintendent of Lincoln County School District in Oregon, as the district's next superintendent.

After a 10-month search, the Sumner School District is close to having a new superintendent, pending contract negotiations.

The district issued a news release following a special meeting Wednesday night in which the school board unanimously voted to hire Dr. Sara E. Johnson to the position.

She is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Lincoln County School District in Oregon.

Sumner School Board President Paul Bucich said Johnson possessed the key qualities the board was seeking in a superintendent.

The Board authorized search consultant Lee Goeke to begin contract negotiations with the top candidate. Pending successful contract negotiations, the new superintendent would begin work July 1 this year as leader of the 8,400-student Sumner School District.

The search for a superintendent began in May 2012.  As part of the recruiting and hiring process, the board and Goeke developed a competency model, which defined the profile of a highly-effective superintendent for Sumner. Input to identify the organizational values of the district was gathered from more than 800 students, families, staff and community members who participated in a survey.  

Focus groups comprised of more than one hundred stakeholders, later analyzed the survey data and defined the most urgent challenges and opportunities facing Sumner in the next three to five years, the most important values of stakeholders, the most important management roles and responsibilities for the next superintendent, and the experience and education a new superintendent would have to be successful in Sumner. The board created candidate screening and interview protocols based on the district values and the focus group criteria.

Johnson was among 32 applicants, largely from the Pacific Northwest, eleven of whom met the criteria developed by the board. Seven finalists were identified as strongly meeting the criteria that placed a premium on a traditional career path with demonstrated success as a classroom teacher, a building administrator, and as central office administrator. A very strong background in core curriculum and instructional leadership was highly desired. The board scheduled interviews with the seven candidates last week on February 21 and 22 and used the Sumner values and the focus group criteria to rank order the candidates.

Craig Spencer has served as the Sumner School District Interim Superintendent since July 1, 2011. Prior to that, he held the position of Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, to which he will return.

Editor's Note: Information provided by the Sumner School District.

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