PENINSULA — Ocean Beach School District hosted community forums and focus groups early this week to determine what characteristics the community wants to see in the district’s next superintendent.

The new superintendent is expected to be chosen by the end of February, said Roger Rada, one of two former out-of-area superintendents facilitating the search.

A community survey is available online at the district’s website (https://www.ocean.k12.wa.us) for people who didn’t attend in-person meetings.

Information gathered from the sessions will help the school board create its job posting and interview questions for candidates.

The board will meet in person to discuss the forum findings. Afterward, the board will choose whether to move forward with advertising the job posting outside the district. The board also has the option to keep the search in-district if there’s a candidate they’d rather appoint or if they want to only look at in-district candidates.

“Sometimes we find there are wonderful people in the district already who get appointed,” said Glenys Hill, one of the two former superintendents leading the search. “At this point, nobody knows anything. We’re just figuring things out.”

If the board moves forward with the hiring process, the job posting will be sent out to individuals and organizations who may know potential candidates.

Topics discussed during meetings focused on strengths and challenges for the district, what characteristics are desired of the next superintendent, and whether there are any potential in-district candidates.

Community members raised concerns over preschool options on the Peninsula; Pacific County poverty rates and the amount of students who have unstable living conditions; expanding program offerings for students; and high turnover rates throughout the district.

District strengths community members emphasized include the district’s teaching staff, having a caring community, and being able to have several offerings despite being a small community.

Qualities community members said they’d like to see in the next superintendent include being honest, transparent and technologically savvy. Most importantly though, attendees said they want someone who will make a commitment to the district and the community.

“We want to bring students to a point where they succeed in life and we’re having to do that when they don’t even have a guaranteed meal sometimes,” one community member said.

Hill last served as superintendent in Oregon City. Rada, a former superintendent in Kelso, is currently director of Washington State University’s superintendent certification program.

Hill and Rada are involved in the Northwest Leadership Associates, which assists school districts in selecting new superintendents.

Scott Fenter is overseeing the school district this school year as the school board searches for a permanent replacement. Fenter replaced former superintendent Jenny Risner, who left the district this past summer for a position in Ames, Iowa.

OBSD will post updates about the superintendent search at its website, https://www.ocean.k12.wa.us. The Chinook Observer will also post updates as the search continues.

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