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News >  K-12 education

Cheney interviews three finalists for superintendent

UPDATED: Mon., April 18, 2022

Cheney Public Schools has narrowed the field to three finalists for its superintendent job and all will be interviewed this week.

The finalists are 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 run for three straight days beginning Tuesday with Dotson.

The public will have the opportunity to participate during open community forums each day from 5:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Cheney High School auditorium.

Forum attendees will have the opportunity to write questions on cards that will be shared with the forum moderator and provide written feedback for consideration on Dotson.

The process will continue with Ferney on Wednesday and Vanderholm on Thursday.

However, the district did not offer details on when the school board will name a replacement for Robert Roettger, who is leaving this summer to become superintendent at Educational Service District 101.

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. 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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