Seattle Public Schools is a thriving and diverse district serving more than 53,000 students and their families. In June 2018, Superintendent Larry Nyland’s multiyear contract will conclude. In the next six months, as governed by law, the School Board’s most important job is to hire a new superintendent who can build on the district’s success, sustain our focus on closing opportunity gaps and racial equity, and ignite the entire community’s commitment to public education and our students.
The School Board is proud of the district’s progress. The district academically outperforms our peers in the State of Washington and nationally, leading the way in ensuring educational excellence for all students. We are extraordinarily fortunate to have effective and caring educators and staff, as well as strong relationships with our labor partners, community organizations and the city through the Family and Education Levy. The next superintendent will need to build on our success and address the opportunities and challenges of our rapidly growing city and district. We will need to continue to address both capacity and funding crises that require coordinated, cross-sector actions aimed at raising the bar for all of our students. Our collective work will set the foundation for K-12 public education in Seattle for decades to come.
As we embark on this exciting superintendent search, we are asking for your input.
We want to know what leadership qualities, expertise and experiences matter most to you in a superintendent. This will be the first time the public has had a formal opportunity to provide feedback on a superintendent search since 2012, and we are looking forward to reviewing what matters to our families, partners, students and staff. We have hired Ray & Associates, a national leader in superintendent search processes, to assist us in this critical work.
Save the date: Public Forum with final candidates: Thursday, March 29, 5:00-8:15 p.m., John Stanford Center Auditorium.
Search Timeline and Process
The superintendent search process will be conducted in three general phases, anticipated to run from January to April.
- Phase 1: Developing a Candidate Profile that will outline the qualities Seattle Public Schools is looking for in a superintendent. This phase includes community engagement that will inform the Board’s decisions around this profile. Members of the public participated in a survey opportunity and town hall in January.
- Thank you to our family members, staff, and community members who participated in January in the targeted focus groups, the community town hall, and responded to the survey to prioritize candidate qualities. This input was used to develop a candidate profile and job description which has been advertised widely.
- Job Description FlyerOpens a New Window.
- Phase 2: Recruiting Candidates and Interviewing Semi-finalists will be conducted in a manner that protects candidate confidentiality. It is customary for superintendent candidates to remain confidential until finalists are selected and announced to the community.
- The search firm, Ray and Associates, recruited for and received submissions from applicants for the role of Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools through the end of February.
- Over the first three weeks of March, the candidates will be narrowed to 2-3 finalists.
- Phase 3 (Final): Conducting Final Round Interviews by the School Board with a small number of finalists.
- This phase will include an evening public forum on Thursday, March 29, 5:00 – 8:15 pm, at the John Stanford Center Auditorium located at 2445 3rd Ave South.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the Board following this timeline?
- The Board is taking this process very seriously. It values public input and understands the Board is ultimately responsible for the final hiring decision.
- In December 2016, the School Board made the decision to seek a new Superintendent at the end of Dr. Nyland’s contract (June 2018).
- We are following the timeline recommended by the search firm. There is a cycle for superintendent searches so a new superintendent may be in place at the start of the next school year. Several other large urban districts across the country are also actively seeking new superintendents, and we hope to attract a large pool of eager candidates.
What are the next steps?
- The job posting went live at the beginning of February. The application window closes on February 28.
- In early March, the search consultants will review applications and present recommended candidates to the Board. The Board will be able to review the full list of candidates.
- On March 22-23, the Board anticipates interviewing 5-6 semi-finalists for the position. Semi-finalist candidates are confidential and these interviews will take place in executive session. The Board has invited several labor and community partners to sit in on the interviews and provide confidential feedback about the candidates during this round.
- The final round is anticipated to occur on March 29-30. The final 2-3 candidates will be public. The round will consist of meetings, interviews, school tours, and a public forum. Attendees at the public forum will have an opportunity to submit suggested questions and provide written feedback on their impressions.
- At the April 4 Regular Board Meeting, the Board anticipates voting to authorize contract negotiations with one finalist.
- At the April 25 Regular Board Meeting, the Board anticipates voting on a negotiated contract.