Superintendent finalists to be announced

Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Juneau School District officials intend to announce superintendent finalists after the School Board chooses them in a closed session Wednesday afternoon.

The application period closed Friday. Eight people applied for the position overseeing a school system with about 700 employees and 5,000 students, said Bruce Johnson, director of the Association of Alaska School Boards. The association was contracted for $8,000 in February to help recruit the new superintendent.

Johnson said the applicants were mostly from out of state, but with previous experience in Alaska. Of the other six superintendent searches the association has conducted this year, Johnson said there have been as many as 20 applicants and as few as four or five.

He guessed that by the end of the year, there may be 13 or 14 new superintendents in the state's 53 school districts. A typical year sees nine or 10. Having so many openings can create competition between districts, though Johnson said applicants are typically looking for the best fit and apply to only one or two superintendent positions.

In a statement about the search, spokeswoman Kristin Bartlett described the School Board as "pleased with the small but well-qualified" applicant pool. The School Board met in executive session Saturday to consider the candidates.

The position advertised a salary range between $125,000 and $135,000. Current Superintendent Peggy Cowan earns a salary of $132,500. She announced in January that she would leave the post when her contract expires June 30 to pursue roles with more emphasis on instruction.

Cowan was a finalist for a superintendent post in Petersburg, though school officials there last week announced their pick as former Nenana superintendent Robert Thomason, said Wendy Einerson, business manager of Petersburg City Schools.



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