Opinion

School board member responds to editorial

In the Wednesday, May 26, issue of the Valley Record, general manager Jim McKiernan chose to write about a perceived concern with the retiring and rehiring of school staff. His motivation was that he had been contacted via enough phone calls and discussions with people across the community to make it an issue.

It is disappointing that people did not contact school board members or superintendent Dr. Richard McCullough directly to discuss the perceived issue. It is also disappointing that Mr. McKiernan also did not contact any school board members or Dr. McCullough prior to running the editorial. I feel a response to the concerns raised by Mr. McKiernan by a school board member is important to communicate with the community the current situation in the district and the process by which such decisions are made.

While the district has currently rehired six teachers and five administrators, the editorial focused on administrative rehiring. The Snoqualmie Valley School District has five central office administrators and 12 building administrators. Three of the five central office administrators who will begin next year came up through the teaching ranks locally. The other two, including Dr. McCullough, came from other school districts where they had built a successful track record and were stronger candidates than in-district personnel. Seven of the 12 building administrators also have advanced from teaching positions to their current level and are reaping the benefits of increased salaries as a result of their added responsibilities. Every one of the promoted individuals is doing a great job in leading this district on the course directed by the community and set into policy by the school board.

Each time an administrative position comes open, the school board and Dr. McCullough thoroughly review each of the options available. First, we look at current district personnel in light of opportunities that Mr. McKiernan rightly suggests provides for career advancement and motivation to stay with the district team. If there is a person that is ready and capable of taking on a leadership role, we would look to hire that person.

Second, we look outside the district for other highly qualified people who may have expressed an interest in our district or who we are aware of and feel would be a good fit with our district. At times, this could lead to a widespread search with public notification and outside expert assistance in the process. At the time of Dr. McCullough's retirement, for instance, this could be the approach the board decides to take.

Finally, in special circumstances such as an interim hire or a position that is difficult to fill based on the applicant pool, the rehiring of a retired administrator with a proven success record in considered to fill the job. Every year each of these positions are re-examined for possible change. The key point concerning this process that we have successfully used for many years is that it is exactly the process that the editorial by Mr. McKiernan suggests should be used.

It is important to keep in mind that personnel discussions occur in executive sessions as allowed by law to protect the privacy of the individuals involved, as well as allowing full and frank discussions about the capabilities of people being considered for hiring, firing, promotion, etc. Therefore, it may appear at times that there is a lack of process or that the well-being of the district is not being considered.

I want to assure the public that the school board takes this responsibility to be one of the top duties it performs on behalf of our school community, our parents and the children, including our own, who attend Snoqualmie Valley School District schools. The strength of our administrators and teaching staff is the best evidence that the system currently being used in the district works and has given us a healthy mix of in-district leaders and proven leaders who have worked elsewhere and who bring with them new ideas to add to our program.

If there are community or staff members who have additional questions or concerns about this "issue," I would urge them to contact a school board member or Dr. McCullough. I can assure you that all of us are open to discussions or suggestions that might further improve our efforts in this matter.

Richard "Rick" Krona

Snoqualmie Valley School District board member

North Bend

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