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School district narrows principal search

Down to seven finalists

The White Salmon Valley School District has narrowed its search for a new Columbia High School principal to seven candidates, according to information released Tuesday by the district's administrative office.

Those seven candidates were interviewed Monday and Tuesday by an interview team comprising CHS staff (teachers Jan Callow, Kevin Olin, Chris Hipskind, Steve Larsen, Shirlee Jellum, Peter Knowles, counselor Matt Whitmire and instructional aide Jose Maya), community parents (Donna Rockwell, Dan Rawding and Maru Quintana) and CHS students (Alex Dankers and Adriana Benitez).

Interviewed on Monday were:

Matt Mclain, Chewelah Homelink principal, Chewelah School District.

Michael Carlson, dean of students, Richland School District.

Charbonneau Gourde, dean of students, Union High School, Vancouver School District.

On Tuesday the interview team met with:

Brian Gardner, program adiministrator, Lincoln County (Ore.) School District.

Wayne Brown, assistant principal, Kilo Middle School, Federal Way School District.

Troy Whittle, principal, Big Valley (Calif.) School District.

Patricia Scott, principal, Waterville Junior/Senior High School, Waterville Public Schools.

These seven candidates were pulled from an original applicant pool of 23, according to White Salmon Schools Supt. Jerry Lewis.

He said the list of seven candidates "was developed through a review process of each applicant's qualifications, by the high school interview team, me and members of the high school administration."

"This review process," he went on, "also included a review of (candidates' administrative experience) and which candidates might be a fit for our high school and district."

The interview team of staff, parents and students will make its evaluations and recommend two finalists for the position to a second interview team made up of Lewis, members of the district's administrative team and two school directors.

"I hope to schedule those (second) interviews during the week of April 26-30," Lewis noted, adding, "The second interview team will make the final selection for the high school principal. This will allow me to do the contract negotiations and seek approval for the hiring at the May 19 school board meeting."

During the interview process, the teams will examine each candidate to develop an understanding of his/her approach to the following: setting a clear and shared vision for educational excellence, establishing high standards and expectations, school leadership, in-house collaboration and communication, building a supportive learning environment, parent and community involvement, monitoring of teaching and learning, curriculum development and assessment, and professional development.

Said Lewis, "I wanted to ensure that the high school staff had input into what they believed were important abilities in the next high school principal. I surveyed the staff and asked for their input into each of these areas before releasing the job posting," which closed March 26.


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