School board announces three finalists for district superintendent job

Current Sup. Colosky will retire at the end of the school year.

It’s down to the final three applicants in the running to become the next Mercer Island School District superintendent.

On March 17, school board President Maggie Tai Tucker announced the finalists in an online letter to the school community and the trio: Erin Murphy, Jana Parker and Fred Rundle.

School tours, board interviews, meetings with high-school students and community sessions are on the docket for the finalists on March 21, and the board expects to announce the new superintendent by the close of business on March 25 or sooner.

The board has reached “the culmination of an exhaustive, months-long national search that began with extensive community engagement,” Tucker wrote in the letter.

Following Zoom interviews earlier this month with the seven semifinalist candidates — who arose from a pool of 25 qualified applicants — the board selected Murphy, Parker and Rundle as finalists for the soon-to-be open superintendent spot when current Superintendent Donna Colosky retires at the conclusion of this school year.

“We appreciate the community’s involvement and feedback throughout this process. We look forward to announcing a hire and, in so doing, enabling planning to begin for a smooth transition between Superintendent Colosky and her successor, whom we expect to start work on July 1, 2022,” wrote Tucker, who was joined by search consultant Lydia Musher of Tradition Search Partners throughout the entire search and interview process.

Since 2016, Murphy has served as the assistant/associate/deputy superintendent for the Bainbridge Island School District. In that role, she collaborates with district leaders on the development of systems for effective management and communication, supervises and evaluates building and district administrators, serves as district representative to support legal matters and more. She was previously the principal of Alderwood Middle School and assistant principal of Mountlake Terrace High School.

For the last two years, Dr. Parker has served as the deputy superintendent of instructional services for the Ferguson Florssant School District in St. Louis, Missouri. Her duties include providing direct support to district leaders with focus on instructional infrastructure, support and accountability systems; coordinating virtual school opportunities and more. She was formerly the director of innovation and learning for the Lindbergh School District and principal of Long Elementary.

From 2021 to the present, Dr. Rundle has served as the deputy superintendent for the Mercer Island School District and was previously the district’s assistant superintendent, director of learning services and principal of Lakeridge and West Mercer elementary schools. He has contributed to the development of the district’s fiscal budget and priorities and has overseen resource allocation and spending for basic education, schools foundation, federal/state grants, and levy funding sources.

Colosky announced her retirement last May after spending 36 years working in public education, including the last four as Mercer Island School District’s superintendent.

The school board began widely advertising its national superintendent search on Feb. 1. The district posted the position in national publications, on the Washington Association of School Administrators web site and other key locations. Musher also attended a national conference of superintendents in February in Nashville, Tennessee, on behalf of the district and actively recruited candidates.

The superintendent’s salary is a minimum $250,000 first-year base, according to the job announcement posted on the Tradition Search Partners site. The announcement listed that the ideal candidate should be a systems builder who focuses on creating consistently excellent delivery, have experience managing innovatively within a strategic budget, demonstrate an apolitical commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and more.

For information about the March 21 community sessions and to register, visit