Philomath School District Office artwork

A screening committee tasked with looking through applications that had come in for Philomath’s interim superintendent’s job took several hours Thursday. Late that evening, the committee had narrowed the list of 17 multi-state applicants down to four finalists.

Jim Kildea, chair of the Philomath School Board, said the committee did a thorough job.

“I was surprised because I was expecting maybe like a dozen or 10 or something but when it was 17, it was ‘whoa.’ It was a good process but it was a lengthy process,” Kildea said. “It started out with here’s the whole set of 17 and then we got it down to the top ones that met all the requirements. I think settled on the four at like 10:30 that night.”

Those still in contention for the 2019-20 interim post include four candidates that all live in Oregon and have experience as a superintendent, including one at Philomath. The public is invited to meet the four finalists — Phillip Brazeau, Dan Forbess, Matt Henry and Paul Peterson — at a meet-and-greet event scheduled to run from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the school district office.

Kildea said the evening’s format will feature candidate brought into the room one at a time every 30 or so minutes.

“It’ll be pretty quick so the audience can stay in one spot,” he said. “Then everyone can have a chance to see each of the candidates.”

Brazeau served as the superintendent in the Central School District in Independence from 2012-17. He has 23 years of administrative experience in education. He earned a master’s degree in science education from Southern Oregon University and completed his administrative licensure program at Portland State University.

Forbess most recently served as the interim superintendent for the Reedsport School

District from 2016-18. Prior to his time in Reedsport, Forbess was the Philomath superintendent for five years. He has a master’s degree from California State University in industrial education. He completed his administrative licensure program at the University of Oregon before earning his doctoral degree from Lewis and Clark College in 2012.

Henry is currently the superintendent for the Gervais School District. He has 14 years of administrative experience in educational administration. He has a master’s degree in interdisciplinary science from Western Oregon State College. He completed his administrative licensure program at the University of Oregon.

Peterson is currently the interim superintendent in the Scappoose School District. Previously, he was the assistant superintendent at the Northwest Regional Education Service District in Hillsboro from 2011-18. Peterson has 23 years of administrative experience at all levels of K-12 education. He has a master’s degree from Heritage College in school administration and he completed his administrative licensure program at George Fox University.

Kildea said the school board planned to begin reference and background checks for the finalists. Following Thursday’s meet-and-greet, the board will then conduct finalist interviews on Friday to work toward making an offer.

“After those interviews on Friday afternoon, we should have our No. 1 and No. 2 choices,” Kildea said. “Then we’ll try to get No. 1 and if things don’t work out, we’ll go to No. 2.”

The school board is hoping to take a vote at its June 20 meeting.

“We’re hoping to identify one Friday, the 14th, negotiate terms and then on the 20th, endorse and approve as a board,” Kildea said. “That’s the plan.”

The interim superintendent’s term would begin July 1 after the departure of outgoing superintendent Melissa Goff.

The board had expressed the desire in the past of having the interim’s start date begin before Goff leaves for the Greater Albany Public School District to ease the transition. Kildea said that might be a long shot but a best-case scenario would be if the interim superintendent can come in at least part-time during the week of June 24, Goff’s last week.

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