Extended superintendent search yields 8 more candidates

Juneau School Board reviewing applicants in closed session today

Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2009

Five more weeks of searching and a salary bump worth up to $40,000 produced eight more candidates seeking to be the top administrator of the Juneau School District.

The School Board ordered the extended search, which ran from mid-April through Tuesday, after the initial search that ran from February to April 10 yielded only eight candidates, of whom two candidates the board was interested subsequently withdrew.

The new candidates' identities are a secret, though the three finalists the board chose from the initial round were named before the search was extended.

School Board Vice President Andi Story said Wednesday that the board will learn who the new candidates are and likely choose a new set of finalists in an all-day closed session meeting being held today. Story said the board may choose the new finalists and publicly name them by the end of the day. She said she was pleased that more applicants had come forward.

"Just the fact that we've got eight new applicants show's there's interest," Story said.

The extended search came with a bump in the advertised pay range from $125,000 to $135,000 up to $150,000 to $175,000. Board President Mark Choate said at the time the reboot wasn't a reflection of dissatisfaction with the initial finalists, but simply an effort to get a broader range of candidates.

The three known candidates from the original batch are:

• Beverly Hammond, former superintendent for 2008 of Wild Rose School Division No. 66 in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.

• Laury Scandling, Juneau's assistant superintendent since 2008.

• Art Stellar, superintendent in Taunton, Mass., since 2005.

Juneau's school superintendent is responsible for overseeing a system with about 700 employees and 5,000 students. 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.

The search was handled by the Association of Alaska School Boards under an $8,000 contract. Most of the extension was covered by the original contract, though the district was responsible for some nominal advertising costs.

• Contact reporter Jeremy Hsieh at 523-2258 or e-mail jeremy.hsieh@juneauempire.com.

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