Sequim School Board directors Heather Short, Robin Henrikson, and Brandino Gibson discuss the selection of a search firm to replace outgoing Superintendent Gary Neal.

Sequim School Board directors Heather Short, Robin Henrikson, and Brandino Gibson discuss the selection of a search firm to replace outgoing Superintendent Gary Neal.

Sequim School Board selects search firm

After much discussion regarding the proposals and potential logistics of working with two different search firms, Sequim School District’s board of directors agreed to contract with Northwest Leadership Associates to find their next superintendent.

Directors held a long meeting with a packed agenda on May 20, chief among them were discussions related to replacing superintendent Gary Neal, who announced two weeks ago that he would not be returning to the district after his contract runs out on June 30.

Citing the Northwest Leadership Associates’ more detailed timeline that they are the only firm recommended by the Washington State School Director’s Association for such a search, directors chose NWLA over McPherson & Jacobson.

Some members of the board and administration representatives were hesitant during discussion about McPherson & Jacobsen based on previous history with the firm; in the district’s search for a superintendent in 2015, the firm selected three finalists that Sequim School Board directors eventually rejected.

Now the board will move forward in officially hiring NWLA and implementing their plan to hopefully get an interim superintendent in place in the coming weeks, then moving on to their search for a full replacement of Neal.

Their timeline may have been impacted by an unexpected hiccup, however – Neal announced in Monday’s meeting he had been informed that he had more vacation days remaining than he had anticipated, and more than he could “buy back” of his contract. At current, if he buys out all the vacation days his contract allows him to, his last day of work at the district would be June 8, before the end of the school year and two days before the board’s hopeful timeline for hiring an interim superintendent.

Neal asked the board to allow him to buy out an additional 10 days, pushing his departure date back to June 18, which would work better with the planned timelines. Directors elected to wait to make a decision on how to proceed with that issue, however, with several board members saying that the district will likely have at least one special board meeting prior to the next scheduled meeting (June 3).

School board directors asked if Neal would be willing to push back his official exit date by the number of vacation days he has remaining — so that he could leave on June 30 as planned and still get paid for those vacation days — but Neal told the board that he was “not prepared” to do so.

SMS targets new math program

Sequim Middle School principal Vince Riccobene and Pam Landoni, the district’s Instructional Coach & Professional Development Coordinator, proposed that the middle school officially adopt the Eureka math curriculum that they have been piloting at the school for the last year.

Riccobene and Landoni cited a marked increase in assessment scores and support from the school’s math teachers about Eureka, a program already in use at both Helen Haller Elementary and Greywolf Elementary schools.

Eureka, Riccobene and Landoni said, encourages developing options on how to approach math problems and makes use of daily assessments and instructional aides to keep kids from falling behind, and Sequim Middle School’s math teachers have embraced it so far during the pilot program — meeting each Tuesday to make sure they are using the curriculum properly and planning on how to better utilize it.

The board did not vote on the proposal, but board members with children in the district seemed supportive of the idea.

Other business

The board heard presentations from several other district groups, including the Sequim Options School, the Sequim High School leadership student board liaisons, SHS physical education teacher and football coach Eric Wiker, and the SHS Robotics Club.

The board was updated on a recent audit relating to the district’s Title 1 grants. According to Darlene Apeland, the district’s Executive Director of Business Operations and Finance, there was only one minor finding in the audit relating to bid process policy, and that has already been corrected. The auditor also had notes on a few improvements that should be made before future audits, mostly relating to how moneys from various ASB clubs are handled, and Apeland said that changes to those processes are already being considered.

During the public comment period, the board heard a presentation from a student selected to be a student ambassador to Sequim’s sister city of Shiso, Japan next fall. Karlie Viada spoke of being an all-A student in accelerated classes and twice representing her school at the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair. She’s seeking donations to help meet the $2,500 cost of the trip, and is seeking sponsorships for her to work at a Japanese garden in Seattle this summer. Those interested in helping her can reach her family at viada 4family@gmail.com.

Sequim School Board directors Heather Short, Robin Henrikson, and Brandino Gibson discuss the selection of a search firm to replace outgoing Superintendent Gary Neal.

Sequim School Board directors Heather Short, Robin Henrikson, and Brandino Gibson discuss the selection of a search firm to replace outgoing Superintendent Gary Neal.

More in News

x
Clinic staff look to start online COVID-19 vaccine registration

Available age would shift to 65-and-up under new sign-up program

Sequim City Manager Charlie Bush, seen here in March 2020, will no longer be city manager after city councilors voted 4-2 Monday, Jan. 11, to accept his resignation. Reasons for resignation were not made public. Sequim Gazette file photo by Matthew Nash
Details sparse on call for Bush resignation

Separation agreement could be approved Monday

x
Land use appeal decision looms for MAT clinic

SOS seeks standing, City of Sequim, Tribe seek dismissal

Sequim City Manager Charlie Bush. Photo courtesy of City of Sequim
Sequim group forms to seek city council transparency, open dialogue

Petition urges reinstatement of city manager

Sequim Police Blotter
Police blotter — Jan. 20, 2021

The weekly police blotter includes incidents that occurred in the City of… Continue reading

Alan and Karen Selig were among the gleaners volunteering at Joyce's Blueberry Haven last summer. Photo by Sharah Truett/WSU Clallam County Extension
Summer tastes are still alive, thanks to volunteer gleaners

Thanks to a small army of volunteer gleaners and two counties full… Continue reading

Community news briefs — Jan. 20, 2021

County closes Sequim Bay, Discovery Bay to shellfishing Recreational shellfish activities have… Continue reading

Midway Metals, 258010 U.S. Highway 101 east of Port Angeles, is the subject of a cease and desist order approved by Clallam County Commissioners for operating an illegal scrapyard. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group
Midway Metals to get cease and desist letter

Clallam County commissioners have warned the owner of Midway Metals to correct… Continue reading

Gov. Inslee lowers age of those eligible for vaccines

Just when residents of Washington will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine… Continue reading

Most Read