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Education

NORTH BEND — The North Bend School District continues its search for a new superintendent.

On Tuesday evening in the Hall of Champions, the public was asked to provide input on who should replace the current superintendent, Bill Yester. Though today, Jan. 9, is a day of gathering more comments, it is intended for members at the district office, staff and students. Last night's forum was specifically for the public, and not many showed up.

But that didn’t discourage Steven Lowder, consultant on the search from McPherson & Jacobson LLC and retired superintendent.

“The search has been going well,” he told The World before the public forum began. “The position is open and applications are being submitted.”

As he explained it, last night’s input is just part of his firm’s process in gathering information about the community and district. That information will help the firm match applicants with NBSD.

“Our goal is to find a good match so people come and stay,” he said, adding that the firm’s protocol has proved successful for 20 years as it has placed over 600 superintendents nationwide. “A large percent are still in the same saddle. It has 100 people like me, retired superintendents, who are consultants.”

Though applications have already starting coming in for the open spot to lead the district, the deadline for all applications is Jan. 23.

After that, McPherson & Jacobson LLC will take a couple weeks to conduct reference checks.

“We don’t just call references,” Lowder said. “We call people who might know these applicants in the community. Then we develop a shortlist to match characteristics and experience with the kinds of things we hear people in these communities talk about.”

That shortlist will be finished by Feb. 20. From there, the school board will select a list of interviews, which will be scheduled for the week of Feb. 25.

A final decision should be made March 11 or March 12.

Though only two showed up for Tuesday night’s public forum, and one school board member sat in, both gave detailed answers to Lowder’s questions.

When asked what is good about the community, both highlighted that neighbors will always step in to help a child when needed.

However, when faced with the question as to what problems a new superintendent should be aware of as they step into the job, both pointed to the bullying issue that plagues every district. They also asked for continuity, someone who will stay and turn the district around academically.

Though the community forum is over, the public can still fill out a survey on the district’s main page to answer the same questions.

“The survey is open the rest of the week,” Lowder said.

To fill out the survey, visit www.nbend.k12.or.us/.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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