Okanogan interviews superintendent candidates this week

— A decision is expected later this week on who will become the Okanogan School District’s next superintendent.

Richard Johnson, who has been in the district’s top administrative job since July 1988, is retiring at the end of June 2018.

Three candidates are vying for the position; all three will be interviewed and will tour the district this week. Candidates are Joseph Castilleja, Sunnyside; Ashley Goetz, Okanogan, and Richard McFarland, Dallas, Ore.

Selection is planned either Friday evening or on Saturday, Dec. 8 or 9. Once all the interviews are done, the board will consider information they have gleaned and comments made by members of five stakeholder groups who will meet with the candidates.

If the decision comes Saturday, board members anticipate recessing Friday’s meeting. The Chronicle will post information, as it becomes available, on its website.

The schedule calls for Castilleja to be interviewed today, Dec. 6; Goetz to be interviewed tomorrow and McFarland on Friday. Each will follow the same schedule, except Goetz will not get a tour of district schools since she already works for the district.

Greetings from a board member will be at 8:30 a.m., with a visit to district schools, led by Johnson, at 8:45 a.m. At 10 a.m. the candidate will meet the district administrative team in the high school leadership room, with high school Principal Bob Shacklett as host.

High school associated student body President Hannah Smith will meet with the candidate at 11:30 a.m.

Former board member Kory Heindselman, a real estate agent, will take the candidate on a community tour at 1 p.m.

At 2:30 p.m., the candidate will meet with classified staff representative Katherine Brown, a former board member and current middle school secretary, in Room 128 of the middle school. Business teacher Zach Spaet will lead a 4 p.m. meeting with teachers in the middle/high school library.

Each candidate will meet with community stakeholders at 5 p.m. on his or her appointed day. Jessica Hall will lead the discussion, which includes stakeholder groups asking each candidate the same 15 questions.

At 6 p.m. comes a dinner with the school board at the Koala Street Grill, 914 Koala Ave., Omak.

Formal interviews with the school board will be at 7:45 p.m. each evening in the middle/high school library, 244 S. Fifth Ave. Each candidate will be asked the same questions.

All sessions involving the board are open to the public.

Johnson said he will not be present for board interviews with the candidates.

“It is important for the public to see and understand that this is the board’s decision, after gathering information from the five stakeholder groups, and no one else’s decision,” he said. “This is probably the most important decision any school board can make - selecting the school district’s next superintendent.”

The board could name the next superintendent Friday, or may wait until Saturday. In either case, an executive (closed-door) session is planned to discuss candidates’ qualifications, but the decision will be made in open session.

The district contracted with McPherson Jacobson Executive Recruitment and Development, Omaha, Neb., to assist with the search.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment