Narrowing down the search for a new leader

Misty Swanson, Chief Deputy of the Idaho School Boards Association, advises the Fruitland School District Board of Trustees prior to executive session at its Feb. 27 special meeting.

FRUITLAND — As the search for the next Superintendent of Fruitland School District continues, the district’s Board of Trustees has taken the next step toward making its selection. At Thursday morning’s special meeting, the Board selected six applicants to receive calls for interviews.

The new superintendent will be tasked with replacing Teresa Fabricius, who has been the superintendent of Fruitland School District since April 2012. Fabricius announced her impending retirement in January and her retirement letter was accepted by the Board of Trustees on Jan. 13.

Fabricius has been working at Fruitland School District for nearly 30 years in a variety of positions, including school counselor and district testing coordinator, she never held a superintendent position before taking over as Fruitland School District’s top administrator.

Just prior to moving forward with the selection process on Thursday, Misty Swanson, Chief Deputy of the Idaho School Boards Association, briefed the Board about the do’s and don’ts of choosing their next leader. Those included compliance with equal employment opportunity law and addressing any potential conflicts of interest.

“I want to make sure you guys are on the ’straight and narrow,’ and that you guys are doing exactly what you need to be doing and following the law while you’re doing it,” said Swanson.

To qualify for the position, applicants needed to have a valid superintendent credential, whether issued in Idaho or out of state, or be in the process of obtaining one. Swanson advised the board that if they picked a candidate whose credential was in progress, they would need to obtain verification through the dean of the candidate’s school of education each year.

“That program is usually a two-to-three year program, and it prepares a person … to become a superintendent,” Swanson said, noting candidates of such programs need a master’s degree to attend. “That [candidate] would need to submit an application to the state department, it’s called alternate authorization, and it would have up to three years [renewability]. It would have to be renewed one year at a time.”

Nonetheless, Swanson was confident the Idaho School Boards Association was presenting the district with a good group of candidates. She said her team worked to verify credentials claimed by each applicant.

“We feel like you guys got a great number of applicants, and some really good ones as well,” she said.

Swanson said she left the final decision of which candidates to pursue up to them, noting that they were the ones who live and work in Fruitland and that it was their responsibility.

The ISBA presented the Board with one-page summaries of each applicant. After nearly

two hours of deliberation in executive session, the Board narrowed down the list of candidates to the following individuals:

• Lyle Bayley, Superintendent of Castleford School District

• Ryan Hawkins, Director of District Operations of Nyssa School District

• Angie Lakey-Campbell, Superintendent of Imbler School District

• Brett Cox, Superintendent of Prescott School District

• James Ramsey, (further information was not provided by the school after requested)

• Eric Forseth, Provost of Dordt University, previous Superintendent of Nampa Christian School

The Board voted unanimously on moving forward each of the candidates. They also moved to establish an initial superintendent interview committee.

Interview dates are to be determined.

Corey Evan is a reporter at the Independent-Enterprise and Argus Observer. He can be reached at (208) 642-5258 or by emailing coreye@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com.

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