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May 8, 2003

School for the Deaf search in high gear

From: Oregonian, OR - May 8, 2003


VANCOUVER -- The search for a new superintendent for Washington School for the Deaf is under way, with the school's trustees hoping to meet qualified candidates next month.

The closing date for applications is May 20. The search committee is expected to present names of finalists to the board of trustees at the June 4 meeting. Chairwoman Pat Clothier said the board hopes to begin interviews in mid-June.

According to a memo from Phyllis Gallegos of Executive Search Services of Olympia, the position has been posted on several Web sites.

"I believe I am identifying qualified candidates for the position," Gallegos said in the memo, which was presented to the trustees Wednesday. "In fact, we have three candidates that meet our evaluation criteria."

The trustees will send the names of three finalists to Gov. Gary Locke, who has the final say, Clothier said.

"He is asking that we rate and prioritize the candidates," she said.

The nine-member search committee includes deaf-school board members, parents, teaching staff and statewide special education and education representatives, including John Erickson, Vancouver district superintendent. It also includes Clark County Superior Court Judge Diane Woolard, who headed the five-member panel appointed by Locke to gauge safety at the school.

The panel sent a memo to Locke last November stating that the Grand Boulevard school may not be capable of providing a safe environment for students.

The previous superintendent, Leonard E. Aron, resigned in February after 31/2 years of controversy centering on student safety. Allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse on the residential campus began in 1999, prompting Locke to appoint the safety panel.

John Davis, retired Hockenson schools superintendent, was appointed interim superintendent after Aron stepped down.

Clothier said no date has been set for a new superintendent to take over.

"It depends on when and where the final candidate will be coming from. We realize it will take time to relocate," Clothier said. "But we do plan on being fully operational by the time school starts" in the fall. Jason Begay: 360-896-5719 or 503-294-5900;

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