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Washington Voices

Residents Will Help Choose Nine Mile Superintendent In/Around: Nine Mile Falls, Suncrest

Five finalists have been named in the Nine Mile Falls School District search for a new superintendent.

Now the district is turning to its residents, students and staff to help make the big decision by May 1.

School board President Paul Grubbs said the community will be involved in identifying the qualities it wants in its new superintendent.

“Ultimately it’s chemistry,” he said. “Typically, one candidate comes to the top of the community’s expectations during the selection process.”

Interviews with candidates began Wednesday and will continue this Friday; Monday, April 10; Wednesday, April 12; and Thursday, April 13.

On each of those evenings, meetings will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. so district residents can meet and question each candidate. Residents will be given a chance to write down their opinions about the candidates.

Students, staff and administrators of the schools will meet the candidates throughout the day-long interviews.

Nine Mile Falls conducted its last superintendent search in 1992 when it hired Shirley Holloway. In the fall of 1993 Holloway, an popular superintendent, was lured back to her home in north Alaska to run a job training program.

At that time Cynthia Clauson was hired to be superintendent through the end of this school year.

The board began its superintendent search late last fall. Last week it announced a slate of five candidates, all superintendents from small school districts.

The candidates are:

Rick Anthony, who has served double duty at the Pomeroy (Wash.) School District as superintendent and elementary school principal since 1986. From 1979 to 1986, he was principal of the Cusick (Wash.) School District junior high and high schools. During the 1970s he taught and counseled students at the Pomeroy School District. Anthony will interview on April 12.

Don Baumberger has been a superintendent for 17 years. For the past three years he has held that job at the Sweetwater County School District No. 1 in Rock Springs, Wyo. Previously he was superintendent at Worland, Wyo., for seven years; at Hot Springs, S.D., for four years; and at Wall, S.D., for three years. Before that, he spent five years in South Dakota teaching and coaching. He will interview on April 10.

Steve Chestnut, who has a doctorate from Seattle University in educational leadership, has been superintendent of the Dayton (Wash.) School District for four years. He previously served six years as first assistant principal, then principal, at a middle school in Benton City, Wash. He taught high school for eight years and spent one year teaching adult literacy and writing manuals for accounting computer software. He interviewed Wednesday night.

Gary Patterson has been superintendent of the Pateros School District in Pateros, Wash., for five years. He taught elementary and secondary school in Granger, Wash., and Sunnyside, Wash., for six years, and was an elementary school principal in Cathlamet, Wash., for 13 years. He will interview on April 13.

Ronald F. Zier has been superintendent of the Manhattan Public Schools in Montana for seven years. He was Manhattan’s elementary school principal for the previous 11 years. Before that he taught elementary school in Billings, Mont., for eight years. He will interview March 31.