Search Process
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Search Process

We have worked hard to develop a search protocol that finds the appropriate balance between meaningful involvement of key stakeholders while maintaining final decision-making authority of the board of directors. We will initiate the search by meeting with key stakeholder groups, individuals, and board members to gather input on the needs of the district and the criteria the board should use in making the final selection.

Development of the Leadership Profile. The Leadership Profile developed at the outset of the search process becomes the guiding document in evaluating candidates and making the final selection decision. As indicated in the search outline, we will facilitate the development of the leadership profile through:
  • conducting an on-line survey inviting input from all interested staff and community members,
  • holding focus group meetings with key stakeholder groups, including both community members and district staff, and
  • meeting individually with each board member.

Based upon this input, we will create a draft of the leadership profile and selection criteria for the review, revision, and approval of the board of directors.

Advertising and candidate recruitment. We will develop an email-based vacancy brochure for the search that outlines the leadership challenges and selection criteria identified by the board, along with a profile of the district and other information of importance to prospective candidates for the position. We will email the brochure to over three thousand school districts and individuals in our database, which includes superintendents, assistant superintendents, university professors, and professional association executives. At the board's direction, we will also produce a hard-copy version of the vacancy brochure that will be mailed to over six hundred individuals in our database. We will list the opening on appropriate state and national websites. With the board's approval, we will place advertisements in appropriate national publications including Education Week and the School Administrator magazine. Most important, we will conduct aggressive one-to-one recruiting efforts with individuals we believe are qualified candidates for the position.

Candidate analysis and screening. Northwest Leadership Associates will conduct preliminary reference checks on all qualified candidates. We will contact references identified by the candidate and, more importantly, other individuals who are familiar with the candidate's past work. Once the field of candidates has been narrowed to those to be invited for interviews, we will encourage board members to make additional reference checks. We will provide a rubric for analyzing each candidate's qualifications in relationship to the criteria developed at the outset of the search. Variations of the rubric will be used in the candidate screening process to evaluate interviews and to assist in reaching the final decision.

The interview process. We typically recommend a two-round interview process. The preliminary interviews of six to eight candidates should be open to the public. The board will conduct these interviews, and those attending will be invited to provide feedback prior to the board's executive session to select those candidates to be invited to return for the final interviews. We will also recommend the board appoint an Interview Observer Committee composed of 20 to 24 individuals representing a cross section of the staff and community. This group will be charged with attending all of the preliminary interviews and completing a more extensive input process based on the specific criteria developed as part of the Leadership Profile.

During the final interviews, candidates will hold open forums with the staff and community, and these forums will include open question-and-answer sessions. Again, feedback from those in attendance will be solicited prior to the board's executive session to evaluate the candidates. The final decision will be made by the board in open session, as required by Washington State law.