The Pendleton School Board set parameters for its superintendent search at a meeting Tuesday, with the goal of announcing a replacement for outgoing superintendent Jon Peterson by early spring.

Search consultant Mike Taylor was on hand to guide the board through the selection process, the salary range, job requirements and how it would advertise the position.

The Pendleton School District will begin the search on Dec. 11, offering a salary range between $127,500 and $140,000 per year.

The board also approved an $800 advertising budget, which will focus on attracting administrators in the western United States to apply.

Taylor said his consulting firm, Window to Leadership LLC, created the qualifications for the job using board policy and input from teachers and community surveys.

The qualifications include boilerplate requirements like experience in teaching and administration, but also specifies what goals the new superintendent should aim for. That includes reducing class size, supporting extracurricular activities and improving district communication.

After the application period ends Feb. 12, the board will appoint a screening committee composed of 15-20 teachers, administrators, classified staff and community members to help whittle down the candidates. Based on Window to Leadership’s recent experience with superintendent searches, Taylor said the district should expect roughly 25 applicants.

In the early stages of the search, Taylor said confidentiality is a must.

“If they are an active or sitting superintendent, it is not good to be a superintendent looking for a job someplace else,” he said. “We have found that our confidentiality increases our pool.”

From Feb. 16-20, the committee and board will screen candidates, followed by the first round of interviews Feb. 29 through March 4. All of these will be conducted in executive sessions outside the public eye.

Once the board has pared down the candidate list to three or four people, board members will ramp up the vetting process, conducting reference checks and site visits from March 9-18.

Also during that time, the finalists will make appearances in Pendleton, participating in public meet-and-greets and a second round of interviews in executive session.

Although the board is expected to select a candidate by March 18 and negotiate a tentative contract by March 21, the school board isn’t scheduled to announce a new superintendent until April 5.

The new chief administrator for the Pendleton School District is scheduled to start July 1.

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Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.

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