Superintendent search proceeds

Two firms will present proposals to school board at special meeting Nov. 6

The Hood River County School District Board of Directors announced Wednesday that it is moving ahead with its search for a new superintendent.

The school board will hold a special meeting Nov. 6 to hear presentations from two organizations about how each would conduct a superintendent search for the district. The board is seeking to replace Superintendent Jerry Sessions, who resigned effective in June 2003 after it was disclosed he made an unauthorized payment of $49,000 from the district budget to former Hood River Valley High School Athletic Director Glenn Elliott. Elliott left HRVHS in June after 20 years with the district when his administrative position was eliminated due to budget cuts.

Sessions described the payment, which went undisclosed for weeks until board members confronted the superintendent about it, as “basically a severance.”

The special meeting on Nov. 6 will be held in the board room of the district office, 1020 Montello Ave., at 7 p.m. Representatives from the Oregon School Boards Association, based in Salem, and from Northwest Leadership Associates in Liberty Lake, Wash., both of whom contract with school districts to conduct administrative searches, have been asked to present their proposals for a superintendent search to the board.

School board chair Jan Veldhuisen Virk said that the meeting is open to the public, but stressed that it will be an informational meeting only.

“They’re going to be giving presentations on what they can do for us,” Veldhuisen Virk said. “We won’t be deciding anything. We won’t even be giving input.” She said the board will likely decide the following week which firm to award the search to. As the search progresses, Veldhuisen Virk said, there will be “plenty of community meetings” and opportunities for public input.

Also at Wednesday’s board meeting, Mitch Sanders, HRVHS athletic director and football coach, gave a presentation about how the transition to the Intermountain Conference is going so far. HRVHS student athletes Elie Meierbachtol, Alex Ponce and Matt Cody offered their perspectives — all three agreeing that competition in the IMC is good. The students also gave a review of a recent student survey about the transition.

“Overall, the response has been pretty positive from kids considering it’s all new,” Veldhuisen Virk said after the meeting.

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