Monroe schools wants to know what public seeks in an interim leader

The board is on track to interview candidates July 28, though it’s unclear if the community can watch

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Monroe in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118

MONROE — Community members have one week to share what qualities they want to see in Monroe’s next interim superintendent.

The district on Friday launched surveys in English and Spanish to learn what skills, personality traits and values residents hope a temporary leader will possess. Other questions seek to gauge what residents see as the district’s challenges and strengths. Those results will be shared with candidates to “aid them in learning about Monroe.”

The survey will close at 4 p.m. July 15, and responses presented to the board at its July 18 meeting.

On July 21, the board will review applicants and discuss whether to conduct candidate interviews in open session or behind closed doors.

In a board workshop Thursday, directors were divided on the best course and agreed to wait on a decision until they can review the applicants.

Board president Jennifer Bumpus said she preferred closed interviews because it could make candidates more comfortable, especially if they are employed and prefer not to have their bosses know they’re looking for other jobs.

Director Chuck Whitfield said a private interview would allow the board to speak more candidly with the applicants and really understand their personality.

“This is going to be a personal relationship. …It’s really going to be about the person and getting a feel for that person,” he said. “Having that (interview) at a public meeting, I just don’t think we can accomplish that.”

Director Sarah Johnson said she worried about how community members would respond to a private interview process. Director Molly Barnes suggested a compromise: hold a public forum for the community to meet the finalists but complete the interview in private.

“In the back of my mind I’m going, ‘This is an interim. This isn’t a full-on superintendent.’ We are going to have a full, completely different process that will have so much community involvement,” Barnes said.

The national executive search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates was hired under a $5,000 contract to assist the district. The search firm representatives helping Monroe are both long-time Washington educators, including Kristine McDuffy who is a retired superintendent of Edmonds School District. They have helped with superintendent searches in several area districts, including Lake Stevens, Riverview, Shoreline and, most recently, Marysville.

Three people had applied for the interim position as of Thursday. Interviews are set for July 28.

The person who is eventually selected will guide the district through the 2022-23 school year.

Superintendent Justin Blasko, who is under contract through 2025, has been on paid administrative leave since December. His future is unclear after an investigation found claims of inappropriate language and bullying credible.

Kim Whitworth served as acting superintendent until July 1 when she returned to her role as the district’s chief academic officer. Other district administrators are handling the day-to-day administrative chores until an interim leader is hired.

Mallory Gruben is a Report for A merica corps member who writes about education for The Daily Herald.

Mallory Gruben: 425-339-3035; mallory.gruben@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @MalloryGruben.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Ready to go full sail’: Maritime Institute embarks at Port of Everett

The training facility offers Coast Guard-certified courses for recreational boaters and commerical vessel operators.

George Beard poses for a photo outside of the the Stanwood Library in Stanwood, Washington on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
From sick to the streets: How an illness left a Stanwood man homeless

Medical bills wiped out George Beard’s savings. Left to heal in his car, he got sicker. Now, he’s desperate for housing. It could take years.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lawsuit says Snohomish County deputies not justified in Sultan shooting

Two deputies repeatedly shot an unarmed Sultan man last year, body camera video shows. An internal investigation is pending.

An airplane is parked at Gate M9 on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Jordan Hansen/The Herald)
Good luck to Memorial Day travelers: If you’re like me, you’ll need it

I spent a night in the Chicago airport. I wouldn’t recommend it — but with flight delays near an all-time high, you might want to pack a pillow.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Friday, May 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Cascade’s Mia Walker, right, cries and hugs teammate Allison Gehrig after beating Gig Harbor on Thursday, May 23, 2024 in Lacey, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Seniors Wilson, Tripp power Cascade softball past Gig Harbor

The pair combined for three homers as the Bruins won the Class 3A state softball opening-round game.

The original Mountlake Terrace City Council, Patricia Neibel bottom right, with city attorney, sign incorporation ordinance in 1954. (Photo provided by the City of Mountlake Terrace)
Patricia Neibel, last inaugural MLT council member, dies at 97

The first woman on the council lived by the motto, “Why not me?” — on the council, at a sheriff’s office in Florida, or at a leper colony in Thailand.