Search for Lake Oswego school superintendent includes more than 30 community meetings
The Lake Oswego School Board took another step last week in its search for a new superintendent with a series of meetings that gave community members a chance to weigh in on the qualities they want to see in the district's next leader.
Five sessions were held at the LOSD administration building between Thursday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 6. Attendance at the gatherings ranged anywhere from two people to more than 25.
"We heard from a wide selection of constituents throughout the district. The meetings were held over three days, which provided ample opportunity for parents, students, teachers, staff and community members to voice their opinions," said district Communications Director Christine Moses. "From a district perspective, we deeply appreciate the time people took to participate. It is so important that we hear from as many people as possible."
In addition to the most recent meetings, the search firm Ray and Associates held about 30 other sessions with stakeholders, according to company representative Jim Hager. "That includes staff at all the schools, students at all the high schools, civic leaders, City Council members, Parks & Recreation staff, the mayor, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, parents of children with special needs and the Coordinating Council."
"We've reached out to a lot of different people. The board was really pushing the idea of transparency," Hager said. "We want to get as much input as we can to help in this process."
The district also posted a survey on its website from Sept. 21-Oct. 10, giving parents, students, teachers and community members an online opportunity to identify the qualities they deem most important in a future superintendent.
On Oct. 16, Ray and Associates will present its findings to the School Board, including a list of the 10 most important qualities that the community wants in a superintendent. On the same day, the board will finalize a promotional flyer and job description for the position, and the application will go live.
The application will be available until Nov. 16.
"Ray and Associates will look at the completed applications and we will match them up with the rubric and the things that the community said they would like to see," Hager said. "We will present the list of applicants to the School Board on Nov. 28 and then narrow the number down to a group of semifinalists."
Initial interviews are planned for Dec. 3-4, with finalists called back the following week. If all goes according to plan, Hager said, the School Board could offer a contract to its top choice by Dec. 11.
The entire process is similar to the one conducted by Ray and Associates five years ago that brought Heather Beck to Lake Oswego.
"We are grateful that Ray and Associates went to every single school in the district to engage staff, students and faculty," Moses said. "Deep listening is critical for staff to be responsive to parents and the community. This was an excellent opportunity to do just that."
While the company is still analyzing all of the responses collected at the meetings, Hager said there was a clear sense that community members really value their schools and education.
"The thing that was quite common throughout was the pride people have in the Lake Oswego School District," he said. "The overall pride in the community and the district is very strong. That was a common theme no matter who we were talking to."
School Board member Liz Hartman told The Review that she's not surprised.
"We are blessed to live in a community of people that care so much and are so capable and engaged," Hartman said. "That can sometimes lead to a longer process, but community engagement is really important."
Hartman said there is no way that a superintendent can succeed unless they are invest-
ed and imbedded in the community.
"This is your educational leader. The community needs to support that person," she said. "When we hired Dr. Beck, we introduced her to all of the groups around town. We truly took her on the rounds. We're looking for someone who feels comfortable doing that."