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Methow process should be open

Last week, the Methow Valley School Board announced the names of three finalists for the district’s superintendent post.

We questioned the process and why school officials were being secretive about hiring for such a high-profile job in our county.

Outgoing school district Superintendent Mark Wenzel said officials were following a process similar to what some other districts have done. He also said the board did not and would not narrow the pool of applicants without public input.

But on Thursday, the board did just that — it interviewed three applicants and then announced them as the finalists.

Our questions: Why so secretive? Why did the board act without the public’s ability to scrutinize the process?

To select three finalists for such a high-profile job here without public input violates the public trust. Parents and residents should have had time to research the applicants and bring their concerns and praises to the School Board prior to any winnowing. They should’ve been included, not excluded.

Unfortunately, this process is now tainted.And it smacks of a backroom deal.

Consultant Monte Bridges was also involved in the Anacortes School District’s selection of Wenzel as its new superintendent. And Wenzel helped convince the School Board to hire Bridges to find applicants for the Methow Valley job.

Is there more to this process than meets the eye? Would the outcome be the same if the public were included in the process?

The Methow Valley School Board would do well to revisit the process, release the names of all applicants and let the public have a say in who will hold the most powerful job in the district.

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