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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Education

Four candidates for Cheney superintendent job face first round of interviews this week

Cheney Public Schools will hold informal interviews with four candidates on Thursday and Friday as it seeks to find a new superintendent to replace Robert Roettger.

The four semifinalists are John Goldhardt, former superintendent of the Manchester School District in Manchester, New Hampshire; Sean Dotson, superintendent of the Tumwater (Washington) School District; Ben Ferney, superintendent of the Valley School District in Stevens County; and Don Vanderholm, superintendent of Lind-Ritzville Cooperative Schools.

Interviews will begin at 5:30 p.m. both days in the Cheney High School auditorium where staff, students and community members may attend.

The interviews will also be accessible via Zoom. Webinar information can be found on the district website calendar.

Following Friday’s interviews, the district board of directors is scheduled to meet in an executive session to determine which candidates will move forward as finalists.

Finalist interviews are scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday and will include a full-day process for each candidate.

Roettger will serve until June 30, after which he will become the new superintendent of Educational Service District 101.

All four of the candidates have experience as a superintendent, three of them in Washington.

Citing a wish to move west to be closer to family, Goldhardt recently resigned as the superintendent in Manchester, N.H., the state’s largest district.

Last month, Goldhardt was offered the superintendent’s position at Carson City, Nevada, but the offer was withdrawn on March 23 after that district’s trustees rejected some of his contract demands.

Goldhardt served in a senior leadership position in Salt Lake City schools before moving to New Hampshire in 2019.

Dotson has spent the past three years at Tumwater, a district of about 6,250 students near Olympia. Prior to that, he spent 12 years in Cheney – five as principal at Sunset Elementary School and seven as assistant superintendent. Earlier in his career, Dotson was a teacher in East Valley and Spokane, and a principal in Elma, Washington.

For the past four years, Ferney has led the 1,600-student Valley School District, located south of Chewelah.

For five years before that, Ferney was the principal at Freeman Middle School. A Washington State University graduate, Ferney also has taught in Cheney and Spokane.

Vanderholm has served the past four years as superintendent of Lind-Ritzville Cooperative Schools in Adams County.

Prior to that, Vanderholm was the principal of Manson (Washington) High School, northwest of Chelan.

Vanderholm began his career as a social studies teacher and basketball coach on the Colville Indian Reservation, then worked for 11 years as a teacher, coach and administrator at the Mary Walker School District in Stevens County.

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