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More about Sequim’s superintendent candidates

The Sequim School Board of directors host day-long, on-campus interviews with four superintendent finalists March 19-22, with selection of their new top administrator coming March 23.


Finalists are:
• Robert Kuehl, assistant superintendent with the Tumwater School District
• Mellody Matthes, assistant superintendent with the Tukwila School District
• Robert Maxwell, executive director of Special Programs with the Bethel School District
• Patrick Kelly Shea, executive director of Human Services with the Mead School District

Keuhl (pronounced “keel”) has worked for the Tumwater School District since 1981. As assistant superintendent, he oversees human resources, technology, capital projects and more. 

He was a teacher (1981-1990), assistant principal (1990-1994), principal (1994-1996, 1996-2001), director of secondary education (2001-2003), director of capital projects and district programs (2003-2005) and executive director of human resources (2005-2008) before taking his current role.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Washington University in 1980, a Master’s in administration from the University of Puget Sound in 1991 and his superintendent’s credentials from Washington State University in 2008. 

Keuhl also is a finalist for the North Kitsap superintendent position.

Tumwater is the third largest district in Thurston County, serving more than 6,000 students in 10 school buildings.

Matthes has 13 years of administrative experience, the last two in Tukwila as assistant superintendent.

She was an English and drama teacher at three different school districts (Kent, Federal Way and Central Kitsap) before stints as dean of students at Fairview Junior High in Silverdale (1994-1995), assistant principal at Shelton High School (1995-1998), principal at Shelton High (1998-2003) and executive director of human resources in Oak Harbor (2004-2010) before moving on to Tukwila.

Matthes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and drama from Washington State University in 1981, a Master of Arts in educational administration from Western Washington University in 1993 and a Doctorate in educational leadership from Washington State University in 2008. 

Matthes also was being considered for the Port Townsend superintendent position, named one of four finalists before they selected Engle, according to The Leader, and for the South Whidbey School District superintendent position, according to the South Whidbey Record.

Tukwila, located in South King County, has a school district of 2,800 students enrolled in five schools.

Maxwell has been assistant superintendent at the Bethel School District for eight years.

He started in education as a middle school teacher in the Snowline Joint Unified School District in California before taking on positions as assistant principal (1994-1996) and principal (1996-2004) in the Bethel School District.

His educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in fish and wildlife management from Utah State University in 1986, a Master of Education in school administration from Azusa Pacific University in 1994 and a Doctorate of Education from Washington State University in 2011. He earned his Washington state superintendent’s credential in May 2008.

Bethel is the 13th largest district in the state with an enrollment of nearly 18,000 students. The district has 17 elementary schools (K-6), six junior high schools (7-9), three senior high schools (10-12), an alternative school (8-12) and two online academies.

More about Sequim’s superintendent candidates, who goes by his middle name (Kelly), has five years of school district administrative experience after nine years working as a principal or assistant principal.

He was an elementary school teacher in Spokane schools for 11 years. He worked as elementary school principal for the Mead (1998-2004) and Central Valley (2004-2007) school districts before his current job as executive director of human services.

Shea’s own educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Whitworth University in 1986, a Master of Arts degree in teaching reading from Whitworth in 1994, a P-9 Principal Certification from Whitworth in 1998 and his Washington state superintendent certification from Washington State University in 2008.

Shea also is a finalist for the Freeman School District superintendent position, according to The Spokesman Review.

Mead district boundaries include the northeast section of Spokane and outlying communities. The district’s 575 teachers serve about 9,500 students in 12 buildings.
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