Middle school principal candidates interviewed
Blaine school district’s 26-member middle school principal selection committee interviewed five candidates Tuesday for the position being vacated by Randy Elsbree, who will move on this summer to become the district’s Special Programs Director after 10 years as middle school principal.
Under Elsbree’s leadership which included five years as assistant principal and 10 as principal, Blaine middle school won recognition three years ago by the National Blue Ribbon School Excellence Program, one of only nine schools in Washington to be awarded the honor.
Blaine school district superintendent Dr. Mary Lynne Derrington said that the original pool of qualified candidates, 22, was the largest one their professional search consultants have had in two years.
The five finalists are Darren Benson, assistant principal of Vista middle school in Ferndale, Kathleen Miller, principal of Omak middle school, Karl Miller, principal of a K-12 school in Lowell, Oregon, Deborah Hill, an assistant principal in Snohomish and Colleen Larson, a high school assistant principal in Lake County, Oregon.
Comprised of students, parents, administrators, board members, staff and community representatives, the committee ran the five through a four-step interview process that lasted over 10 hours.
Derrington said the committee wanted someone with middle school experience. The four steps included exercises designed to “fish bowl” each candidate’s performance working with human problems in a group.
Interview committee members included Blaine high school assistant principal Scott Ellis, board member Pebble Griffin, superintendent Mary Lynne Derrington, Mike Campfield, Dan Steelquist, Todd Apple, Annie Foster, Sheri Jansma, Diane Nymeyer, parents Cathy Hollander, Vicki Mallahan,and Larry McKinney, and students Perry Olason (sixth grade) and Michelle Berry (seventh grade). The committee expects to make a selection this week.