Granite Falls tries again to find superintendent

GRANITE FALLS — The Granite Falls School Board has again narrowed its list of superintendent candidates to three.

The decision, made Saturday, is the second time the board has chosen a list of finalist candidates in the search for someone new to lead the 2,300-student district.

After a first search in February, it decided it didn’t have the candidate it wanted and started a new search.

Finalists this time are:

Warren Hopkins, who has spent the past 14 years in the Arlington School District as a high school principal, an assistant superintendent and a deputy superintendent.

Karen Koschak, who teaches reading and writing in the Seattle School District and was superintendent of the Aberdeen School District from 1994 to 2001. She also taught in the Marysville School District from 1971 to 1987 and was a principal in the Edmonds School District in 1993.

Glen Szymoniak, assistant superintendent of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District in Soldonta, Alaska.

“We are excited with the candidates and look forward to seeing how our staff and community responds to them,” school board President Siobhan Sullivan said. “All three finalists are highly qualified and have worked in small districts. We hope to find a candidate that fits our community and would be best suited for the needs of our kids.”

The board is looking to replace Superintendent Joel Thaut, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

The district received 10 applications on its second search and more than half have been superintendents before, said Wayne Robertson, a consultant helping the board look for a new leader.

“The first time there was something about the timing or the chemistry that wasn’t quite there,” Robertson said. “They know this is the most important work they do and the rest of the work falls behind this decision. They are focused and they are really committed to doing what’s best for the district.”

The district is holding a series of meetings this week so the public can meet the candidates. The first one with Warren Hopkins was Monday night.

The others will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday with Szymoniak and at 6 p.m. Friday with Koshak in the Granite Falls High School commons, 1401 100th St. NE.

Each session is a chance to review qualifications, ask the candidates questions and provide feedback to the school board before the final selection.

The board hopes to announce its selection by the end of this month.

Reporter Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446 or e-mail

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