Questionable Interim Superintendent Hiring

images_openclipart.orgThere is some question as to how our interim superintendent was hired. I have been a part of a parent group that has attended school board meetings for five years. After Superintendent Ken Emmil left the district, the board promised a full and open superintendent search.

Typically a full search takes three months and includes the public in the selection process. Colville’s process from posting the position to hiring Mr. Lewis took less than three weeks, or to be exact, 19 days.

Here is the timeline of the hiring including some items that could be considered either shady or down right illegal:

April 7, 2014 Pete Lewis was put on paid leave in Fairbanks, Alaska.

May 15, 2014 Michael Cashion writes resignation letter

May 16, 2014 Michael Dunn from ESD 101 sends Sid Green Pete Lewis’ resume and contact information.

May 16, 2014 Sid Green responds to Michael Dunn saying he went online and read all the information about Pete Lewis.

– Is it proper to research an applicant for a job position before all the applicants have applied?

May 21, 2014 Colville posts a job opening for superintendent stating  applications being accepted until June 5th.

Notes:

– The board is the only entity that can authorize the school to put up the job opening for superintendent. There was no board meeting authorizing this. Where did the administration office get it’s authorization? Was the school board (or an individual school board director) acting outside of their legal protocol?

– At this date, the board has not even accepted Michael Cashion’s resignation.

May 28, 2014 School Board accepts Michael Cashion’s resignation in legal school board meeting.

May 28, 2014 In email correspondence (received through a public records request) Michael Dunn ESD 101 asks Sid Green if he can interview Pete on June 6th

– Sid Green responds he will set it up for June 9th

– Michael Dunn says “Thanks for doing this as quickly as you can”

May 30, 2014 Michael Cashion writes letter to Michael Dunn stating he spoke with Pete Lewis about hiring employees.

Note:

– The board has not interviewed any applicants for this position. It is highly irregular for an employee to be discussing any aspect of business with ANY applicants.

June 9, 2014 Colville School Board Meeting to Evaluate the qualifications of one or more applicants for public employment in an executive session.

– The agenda item says “applicants for public employment”, they didn’t even have the decency to let us know they were interviewing superintendent candidates. Why? Usually, it is advertised to the community, so that everyone who wants to be there can come, but we didn’t even know it was for the superintendent position until after we were in the meeting. Was the board trying to keep it from the public?

– We were told by the Teachers Union President who the applicants were, so the teachers knew it was a superintendent interview and who the applicants were, but the public did not. Why?

– The meeting opened, the board announced “We are going into executive session for about three hours to interview three candidates” and then left the room.

– We sat there for three hours waiting for them to come out of their session and when it was over, they told us that Pete Lewis scored best on their worksheet.

Notes:

– The board has refused to release all the names of the other applicants even to this day.

– The board held all interviews behind closed doors.

– The board held all conversations about all applicants behind closed doors.

– The public has no idea how they came to their decision.

June 9, 2014 Pete Lewis was fired from his position in Fairbanks (see below links for very informative details)

June 11, 2014 Pete Lewis was officially hired in Colville as Interim Superintendent

Pete Lewis was hired 2 days after he was officially fired from Fairbanks. Does anyone else think this is odd?

We did a request for information to get the information about the other applicants that applied for the position and were denied that information. The school would like us to think that it is illegal for them to give out the information, but its not. It is at the schools discretion whether they give out the information. (see next post https://colvilleparents.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/documentation-for-questionable-interim-superintendent-hiring/)

images_openclipart.orgQUESTIONS

– Why did they need to hire Pete Lewis so quickly?

– Why didn’t they hold the interviews in public?

– Why won’t the school board release information about the other applicants like manyh school districts do? (see next post https://colvilleparents.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/documentation-for-questionable-interim-superintendent-hiring/ )

– Why won’t our school board provide applicant information to us?

– We were told that they had to get Pete Lewis before some other school did. Is our school board not aware that other schools also have a 3 to 4 month selection process?

– Why was Michael Cashion (allegedly) speaking to Pete Lewis about privileged hiring information before the school board had even held interviews for applicants? (see next post https://colvilleparents.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/documentation-for-questionable-interim-superintendent-hiring/ )

– Is our school board trying to hide information about the reasons Mr. Lewis was fired from his last job? (see links below)

– Was our school board afraid that if the public knew Mr. Lewis allegedly mishandled a potential sexual predator, that we wouldn’t want him as our superintendent? (see links below)

– What is it about Mr. Lewis’ qualifications that made our board “have to have him” right away without going through a proper selection process? (We have asked and still don’t know).

– What made Mr. Lewis better than the other applicants? With the board being closed about the other applicants, it’s very difficult for us to take their word on it.

 

Here’s An example of how a full and open superintendent search is done. I looked up the hiring of Pete Lewis to the Fairbanks school district and this is their procedure

FAIRBANKS SUPERINTENDENT HIRING PROCESS: http://www.k12northstar.org/boe/meeting-minutes (look in 2009/2010)

This process takes four months to complete and involves the public in every step of the process.

December 14, 2009 Special Board Meeting to discuss the superintendent search with Bruce Johnson, Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB) superintendent search consultant.

December 18, 2009 Special Board Meeting: Superintendent Search consultant Selection

January 13, 2010 Board Work Session with AASB Superintendent Search Consultant Bruce Johnson to Develop Superintendent Applicant Criteria and to Discuss Superintendent Search Process and Procedures

February 9, 2010 Board Work Session: Superintendent Search

February 25, 2010 Board work Session: Superintendent Search

March 30, 2010 Special Meeting & Executive Session: Superintendent Semi-Finalist Candidate Selection

April 3, 2010 Special Meeting & Executive Session: Superintendent Semi-Finalist Candidate Interviews & Selection of Finalists

– Note, all interviews were conducted in public

– Minutes of meeting include every question and and answer by all candidates

– Board had executive session and then came out with positive comments about each candidate.

April 17, 2010 Special Board Meeting for Superintendent Finalists’ Interviews, Community Review Panel Input, & Selection of a New Superintendent, and Executive Session (if Needed) for Comparing & Contrasting Finalists and Additional Community Review Panel Input

– Note, all interviews were conducted in public

– Minutes of meeting include every question and and answer by all candidates

– Board had executive session and then came out with positive comments about each candidate.

May 25, 2010 Board Work Session: Superintendent Search Review

– Wow, they even gave the public a review!

 

Interesting Links

 

PLACED ON LEAVE

Fairbanks Superintendent Pete Lewis Placed On Leave

http://juneauempire.com/state/2014-04-16/school-leader-leave-law-firm-eyes-procedures#.VGPIlmdkxzb

Fairbanks Educators Rip School Board’s Handling of Suspended Superintendent

http://www.adn.com/article/20140507/fairbanks-educators-rip-school-boards-handling-suspended-superintendent

 

FIRED

Fairbanks School Board Fires Superintendent

http://www.youralaskalink.com/education/Fairbanks-school-board-fires-superintendent-259143711.html

Fairbank School Board Fires Superintendent

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=157&sid=29870313

Fairbanks School Board Moves to Fire Superintendent for ‘Total Failure’ of Leadership

http://www.adn.com/article/20140513/fairbanks-school-board-moves-fire-superintendent-total-failure-leadership

 

HIRED IN COLVILLE

Fired Superintendent Hired in Washington

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?sid=30374557&nid=481

Ousted Fairbanks School Superintendent Hired in Washington (with comments from Colville school board director Sid Green)

http://www.newsminer.com/news/education/ousted-fairbanks-school-superintendent-hired-in-washington/article_97dd3f0a-f737-11e3-85c8-001a4bcf6878.html

Former Fairbanks schools chief Lewis hired in Washington state (With comments from school board directors Sid Green and Rob Sumner. )

http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_news/former-fairbanks-schools-chief-lewis-hired-in-washington-state/article_e885e4fe-f758-11e3-8aab-001a4bcf6878.html

 

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One comment on “Questionable Interim Superintendent Hiring

  1. Pingback: Superintendent Pete Lewis Fired from Previous Position in Fairbanks | ColvilleParents

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