A Virginia school administrator with deep ties to Eastern Washington will be the next superintendent for Spokane Public Schools.
The school board decided on Shelley Redinger Saturday morning, school officials said. Redinger will replace Superintendent Nancy Stowell, who will retire at the end of June.
Redinger, 44, is an Eastern Washington native and current superintendent of the 24,000-student Spotsylvania School District in Fredericksburg, Va.
“I think Dr. Redinger is a very strategic thinker, very personable, will be very visible in schools, and will do a great job in building relationships,” the board’s president, Bob Douthitt, said in a news release. “I’m excited that she will be our next superintendent.”
Redinger was one of two finalists for the position. She and Alex Apostle, superintendent of Missoula County Public Schools in Montana, were in Spokane last week to meet with community members, local leaders and district employees for the final step of the interview process.
During her public forum, Redinger said she was drawn to Spokane in part because of family ties to the area – her parents and brother live in Spokane – and said she wanted to stay in the area at least nine years so that her third-grade son could finish school in the district.
“Spokane Schools was at the top of my wish list,” she said. “It is a place where I believe I can make a difference.”
Reached by phone, Redinger said Saturday she told Douthitt that she would be honored when he offered her the job.
The school board in Fredericksburg has been informed, she said.
“They’re sad, but everyone understands,” she said.
Redinger was born in Spokane, where she went to school through the fourth grade, then moved to Chewelah, where she graduated from high school.
She went to undergraduate school at Washington State University, and received her doctorate in education administration at the University of South Carolina.
She’s been an administrator and teacher in the Richland School District as well as a few South Carolina school districts. She was superintendent of the Oregon Trail School District in Sandy, Ore., for four years.
She has been at her current post only a year.
Retiring Superintendent Stowell has worked in the district for more than 40 years. She became interim superintendent in 2007 and superintendent in 2008 after a national search. Stowell’s total annual compensation is $222,906.
Redinger’s contract is expected to be finalized at the April 25 school board meeting, said district spokeswoman Terren Roloff. School officials had said earlier in the search that the board and the district’s human resources department were pulling together salary comparisons to prepare for negotiations with the chosen candidate.
The search for a new superintendent for the 28,100-student district – Washington’s second-largest – began in January. Twenty-two people applied.
The school board met Saturday morning and deliberated for more than two hours before making the announcement, Roloff said.
“They had high praise for both of the two finalists but felt Dr. Redinger best fit Spokane’s needs,” she said.
Douthitt said he has the “utmost respect for Dr. Apostle and his work in Missoula, and the passion and leadership he would have brought here.”