School Board picks four superintendent finalists

Posted: Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Juneau School Board announced Friday the names and bios of four new superintendent finalists, plus one held over from its first search.

The finalists are:

• Glen Gelbrich, deputy superintendent in Salem, Ore., since 2007. Gelbrich was assistant superintendent for academic achievement from 2004 to 2007 and director of employee relations from 2003 to 2004 in the Salem-Kiezer School District. In Portland, Ore., he was the assistant superintendent for operations from 2001 to 2003 and director of student achievement from 2000 to 2002. He was a principal in West Linn, Ore., from 1994 to 2000.

He earned his administrative license from the University of Oregon in 1993 and a master's degree in education from Oregon State University in 1987.

• Pete Lewis, superintendent in Clarkston, Wash., since 2003.

In Spokane, Wash., Lewis was a high school principal from 1998 to 2003, an alternative high school principal from 2000 to 2003, a middle school principal from 1993 to 1998 and an assistant principal from 1987 to 1993.

Lewis is a doctoral student at Washington State University where he earned his superintendent certificate in 2002. He earned a master's degree in education administration from Whitworth College in 1987.

• Les Morse, deputy commissioner for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development since 2008. Morse was the department's director of assessment and accountability from 2003 to 2008 and principal of Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School from 1997 to 2003.

He earned a superintendent credential in 1999, a master's degree in education leadership and policy in 1995 and another master's degree in education technology in 1994, all from the University of Alaska Southeast.

• Art Stellar, superintendent in Taunton, Mass., since 2005. Stellar was superintendent in Kingston, N.Y. from 1996 to 2001, Marietta, Ga., from 1992 to 1993, Oklahoma City, Okla., 1985 to 1992 and Princeton, W.V. from 1983 to 1985. He also served as a deputy superintendent in Boston from 1993 to 1996 and Shaker Heights, Ohio, from 1980 to 1983.

Stellar earned a doctorate in educational administration in 1973, a master's degree in elementary school administration in 1970 and a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1969 from Ohio University.

• Chad Struhs, assistant superintendent in Blackfoot, Idaho, since 2007. Struhs was superintendent in Aberdeen, Idaho from 2003 to 2007, superintendent in Cordova from 2000 to 2003, a principal in Delta Junction from 1998 to 2000 and a high school assistant principal in Kodiak from 1997 to 1998.

Struhs is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from Idaho State University and received his superintendent certification from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1997. He earned a master's degree in educational administration from Idaho State University in 1997.

Stellar was the only hold over from the first round of candidates. The School Board ordered the extended search, which ran from mid-April through May 19, after the initial search that ran from February to April 10 yielded only eight candidates, of whom two candidates the board was interested in subsequently withdrew.

A third, Juneau Assistant Superintendent Laury Scandling, withdrew last week, citing her interest in maintaining a more hands on role in instructional initiatives she is leading, according to a district press release.

The only other named finalist unaccounted for from the first search is Beverly Hammond, former superintendent of Wild Rose School Division No. 66 in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. The district's press release did not address Hammond.

The School Board intends to announce their choice for a new superintendent after final interviews and deliberations May 29. The new superintendent is expected to start on or before July 1.

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.

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

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