Letters: Search for a new superintendent for Mercer Island schools

Superintendent search

The Mercer Island School Board has begun the process of recruiting and selecting a new superintendent for our district. The superintendent is the CEO of the school district, responsible for creating and delivering our vision for the district, hiring staff, operating facilities, and ensuring the world-class outcomes we expect for our students. Hiring the superintendent is the board’s single most important job.

In May of 2021, Superintendent Donna Colosky announced her plan to retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year. In fall of 2021, the board created a ThoughtExchange interactive survey to gather input from the community on what characteristics, skills, and leadership qualities are most important to them in the search for our next superintendent. (Nearly 1,500 community members took part; the results can be reviewed here: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/scroll/653671880/results.)

Following some preliminary discussions, the board decided to hire a search firm to help conduct a search and selection process that will consider both an internal candidate and potential external candidates. The board conducted an RFP and interviewed three search firms, then selected Tradition Search Partners of Houston, TX. We are confident their expertise and assistance will result in an effective national search for a superintendent.

This week, search consultant Lydia Musher will begin by touring schools and meeting with parents, teachers, and other staff – all via Zoom, due to the current spike in the pandemic. Sign ups for these group meetings will be done by SignUpGenius, with a link shared on the superintendent search page of our district website, mercerislandschools.org/superintendentsearch. Once the initial round of group spots has been filled, additional group meetings will be set up in subsequent weeks.

Ms. Musher will provide a status update to the board in a Special Meeting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13, right before the board’s regular meeting that begins at 6 p.m. Both of these meetings will be viewable by Zoom. She will continue to gather information as she also posts the job and begins recruiting potential candidates for the board’s consideration.

There are many critical decisions to be made in the next year in terms of budgeting, public health concerns, and more. Hiring the best possible superintendent to help guide us through these decisions and their consequences with care and forethought is very important to the board.

The board is grateful for the community’s input and support throughout this process. Please watch for new developments regularly on the superintendent search tab on the district website, mercerislandschools.org.

Maggie Tai Tucker

President, Mercer Island School Board