From left, Dr. Vickie Cartwright, Donna Colosky and Dr. Paul Gordon are the three finalists for Mercer Island School District superintendent. Contributed photos

MISD announces three finalists for superintendent

  • Tuesday, June 20, 2017 3:48pm
  • News

The Mercer Island School Board has named three finalists for superintendent. Each will have the opportunity to meet the community for an hour during a forum to be held from 2-5 p.m. June 21 in the Northwood Elementary Commons.

The three finalists are Dr. Vickie Cartwright, Donna Colosky and Dr. Paul Gordon.

As the associate superintendent for Exceptional Student Education in Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida, Cartwright oversees a department responsible for supporting over 44,000 students and leads both principals, central office administrators, instructional personnel serving in multiple support roles and classified staff.

Before leading the ESE department, Dr. Cartwright led the Accountability, Research, and Assessment Department in the district. She currently serves as the Vice-President of the American Educational Research Association for the Division of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment in Schools. She also has taught graduate students as an adjunct instructor at the University of Central Florida.

Her administrative experience includes being a secondary level school assistant principal and principal in suburban communities, and prior instructional experience includes serving as an elementary school music teacher and a middle and high school band director.

Cartwright graduated from the University of Florida with her bachelor of music in music education. She continued her education at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she completed her master’s in music education and ultimately her doctor of philosophy in educational administration. She has been married to Dr. Carl Cartwright for 26 years and has a son, Dylan, who will start college this fall.

As the Superintendent of Paradise Unified District in Paradise, California, Colosky is responsible for leading the second-largest district in rural Butte County of Northern California and the second-largest employer in the town of Paradise. Under her leadership, Google Apps for Education has been implemented and the district has moved toward 1-to-1 Chromebooks.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Colosky spent 27 years in the Apple Valley Unified School District in the High Desert area of Southern California. During her tenure, her positions included Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Principal in charge of establishing a new, technology-based elementary school, Elementary Principal, Assistant Principal, Master/Mentor Teacher and classroom teacher. Before joining Apple Valley Unified School District, Colosky was an elementary teacher, teaching primary grades and school-wide music.

Colosky received her master’s in educational leadership and administrative services credential from Chapman University. She earned her bachelor of music, as well as her teaching certificate, from the University of British Columbia. Colosky and her husband of 30 years have two grown children, both of whom attended K-12 public schools and graduated from public universities.

In her time spent outside of her passion for education, Donna enjoys snow skiing, hiking, kayaking as well as reading, gardening and yoga.

Gordon was named superintendent of Glen Ellyn School District 41 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois in 2013. Glen Ellyn is a progressive district that strives to ensure students are educationally prepared, globally conscious, bilingual, critical thinkers and problem-solvers who embrace challenges through inquiry-based learning.

Prior to his service to Glen Ellyn, he worked in the 42,000 student Adams 12 Five Star School District in Colorado. He served as Chief Academic Officer, overseeing curriculum and instruction, innovation, grants, professional development, student services, and strategic planning. He also served for seven years as a principal and assistant principal. As a teacher, he worked with students who were reading two to five years behind grade level.

Gordon has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Metropolitan State University, a master’s of education in administration and supervision from University of Phoenix and a doctorate of education from Fielding Graduate University. He is a father of two college-age children, and has been married for 22 years to his wife, Marianne.

He gives his time to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and other causes close to his family. He also enjoys outdoor activities and sports.

The board has had an intensive five-month process since Dr. Gary Plano announced his retirement effective June 30, to find the next Mercer Island superintendent. That process included hiring a search firm, solicitation of public input to define the district’s needs, weekly meetings with public input, evaluating and researching 64 applications, and many hours of candidate interviews.

The next steps include further interviews by the board, the community forums and a final selection process by the board in public session. After the board makes its selection, there is a final vetting and contract negotiation process.

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