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McCullough to leave June 2005

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SNOQUALMIE - Snoqualmie Valley School District Superintendent Rich McCullough announced last week that he will be leaving the district at the end of the school year.

McCullough announced the decision at an all-staff breakfast on Sept. 1. He plans on working the rest of the year and helping the district find his replacement.

"I told Dave Reed [president of the district's board of directors] that I can and will be replaced," McCullough said.

McCullough, who started his teaching career in Chicago in 1969, came to the district from previous superintendent positions at school districts in Oregon. He has a master's degree from the University of Chicago and a doctorate from The Ohio State University.

McCullough will be starting his 17th year in the school district this fall. He was named the 2003 Washington State Superintendent of the Year by the Washington Association of School Administrators.

At its Sept. 16 and 30 meetings, the school district's board of directors will be meeting with potential search consultants who will guide the district through the process of selecting a new superintendent. McCullough said he will be doing a lot of recruitment for the job, which should draw a lot of attention because of its salary and location.

"You'll get a lot of applicants," McCullough said. "And you're not going to hire a rookie."

He said the position, however, should draw the best applicants. Given the small, but vibrant nature of the district and the support of an award-winning board of directors, McCullough said the post will not be a hard sell for the right candidate.

"[Potential search consultant Dennis Ray] said this position should shoot to the top of the list," McCullough said.

As the process of selecting a new superintendent moves along, McCullough said there will be a chance for public input. McCullough said the ideal timeline would bring someone onboard by February so a smooth transition between the two heads of the district can take place.

He said the timing was right for the decision, which doesn't come when the district is trying to pass a bond or elect a new board member. He said there will be a challenge ahead, but has faith in the process the board will go through to hire a new superintendent.

McCullough, who is 57, is leaving the district but not retiring. He will be taking a part-time job teaching at a Western Washington University branch campus in Everett.

Ben Cape can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at ben.cape@valleyrecord.com.

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