Last week the Tahoma School Board voted 5-0 to offer Tony Giurado a contract to become the next superintendent of schools.
Giurado, Chief Academic Officer of the Mesa County Valley School District in Grand Junction, Colo., and Doug Hostetter, Executive Director of Secondary Education for Tacoma Public Schools, were finalists for the position. The board made its decision after meeting in executive session for four hours Tuesday to evaluate and discuss the candidates. The board convened in a special open session at noon to vote.
“The whole process was rigorous,” Board Member Val Paganelli said. “We invited two candidates who prompted us to think hard.”
Board Member Tami Henkel agreed. “It was not an easy decision. But, with all the input and discussion, I am excited to offer (the job) to Tony.”
“This is one of the most serious and important decisions we have made as a board,” President Mary Jane Glaser said. She also noted that Giurado’s emphasis on placing students at the center of all decisions fits well with Tahoma’s core beliefs.
The board spent Monday learning more about the two finalists in a series of meetings and presentations that concluded with a public forum in the Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center. The previous Saturday, May 19, the school board interviewed six semifinalists from a field of 33 applicants for the superintendent position, which became available after Superintendent Rob Morrow announced that he is retiring on June 30. After interviewing the semifinalists, the board decided to invite Giurado and Hostetter for Monday’s final interviews. The board had originally planned to invite as many as three candidates on Monday but decided that Giurado and Hostetter were the clear favorites and chose not to include a third candidate.
The two finalists toured the school district Monday morning, each accompanied by two school board members. They then spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon with two interview panels: Panel One included community members, teachers, staff, parents, students, community leaders, and school board members; Panel Two was comprised of school principals, board members and administrators. The two panels made notes of their impressions and presented them to the school board Monday afternoon.
Monday evening, the finalists completed the interview process in a public forum held at the Performing Arts Center, where about 60 people listened as the candidates answered questions submitted in advance by the public. Audience members were encouraged to jot down comments about the candidates and leave them with the school board in order to be included as part of the decision-making process.
During Tuesday’s announcement, Glaser said the board read each comment from Monday’s forum. She and other board members offered their thanks to everyone who participated in the selection process.