Ridgefield schools picks firm for superintendent search

Company also helping to find new Battle ground schools chief

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

Published:

 

The Ridgefield School District will use the same search firm hired by Battle Ground Public Schools to find the district's next superintendent.

The school board Tuesday approved inking a deal with McPherson & Jacobson LLC, a firm based in Omaha, Neb., to find candidates to replace Superintendent Art Edgerly, who has announced his intention to retire at the end of the school year. Terms of the contract were not immediately available.

McPherson & Jacobson does business in Washington using local consultants. Those consultants are currently working for Battle Ground Public Schools to find a replacement for Shonny Bria, who retired during the spring after the school board agreed to pay her a buyout package totaling $401,715.

Edgerly announced his retirement and resignation at an Oct. 8 school board meeting. He has spent 33 years in public education, beginning his teaching career in the Battle Ground district.

He'll end his tenure as superintendent as the district completes construction on new facilities, which are set to open during the 2014-2015 school year. Following his resignation, Edgerly has said he plans to start a consulting firm with a partner.

At Tuesday's school board meeting, he voiced approval of the consultants who will look for his successor.

"This is a very good group," Edgerly said, adding that he had no input on the decision to hire them.

There's hope the search will run smoothly. Jeff Vigue, a school board member, said he'd been approached by a couple of potential candidates, "from neighboring districts," about the position.

Al Cohen, a McPherson & Jacobson consultant who's part of the search team in Ridgefield and Battle Ground, said he expects

the search to turn up qualified candidates.

The next step, he said, will be to meet with the school board on Dec. 3 to discuss the board members' initial criteria for a superintendent. The search will start in earnest in January, after the holidays.

A new superintendent would likely begin work by July 1, 2014, the same day as Battle Ground's, Cohen said. "The timeline we put forward will determine when the board would like to have that person be approved," he said.