Grandview School District selects finalists

Candidates to visit Thursday

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Strom

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Hilyard

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Criss

— Three superintendent finalists will visit the community this Thursday.

The School District on Friday announced its three finalists for superintendent.

They are Henry M. Strom, superintendent of Mount Adams School District in White Swan; Kurt H. Hilyard, superintendent of Union Gap School District; and Shannon M. Criss, superintendent of Winlock School District.

All three presently oversee school districts that have an enrollment of less than 1,000 students and, similar to Grandview, all have a high percentage of students in free or reduced-price meal programs.

During their visit, all three will interview with the School Board, school employees and the public.

The district has not finalized interview times and locations.

Strom has served as superintendent of the Mt. Adams School District since 2011. The school district’s enrollment count during 2014-2015 was 973 students. The school district has an operating budget of $12.4 million.

Strom did not reply to a message seeking comment.

Strom began his career in education in 1987 as the director of the Yakama Nation Head Start program in Toppenish.

He joined the Mt. Adams School District in 1989, initially as a second grade teacher and he later taught fourth grade during his 10 years inside Harrah Elementary School classrooms.

Last month, Hilyard was a finalist for the Sunnyside School District’s superintendent position. The district eventually hired Zillah superintendent Kevin McKay.

Hilyard said at the time he was seeking a challenge. Though Union Gap’s enrollment is smaller than both Sunnyside and Grandview’s, Hilyard said that is not an issue.

“You still have the same problems, the same issues,” he said.

Hilyard, 58, has served as superintendent of the Union Gap School District since 2006.

During the 2014-2015 school year, enrollment at the pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school district was 608 students.

The school district has a current annual operating budget of $7.65 million.

Since 2012, the Union Gap school has been recognized several times as a recipient of the state’s School of Distinction Award and the Washington Achievement Award.

Hilyard came to Union Gap after an administrative career in the Montana K-12 school system.

Criss, 54, said she is attracted to “…diverse communities such as Grandview.”

She also praised the district’s work in instruction and professional development. Criss called it admirable and “… something I would like to build upon.”

Family is also a motivation for returning to Eastern Washington.

“My husband, Bob, and I will be grandparents for the first time any day now, so I am also wanting to get back to Eastern Washington to be closer to family.”

Criss has served as superintendent of the Winlock School District since 2011. During the 2014-2015 school year, enrollment at the southwest Washington school district was 655 students. The school district has an operating budget of $7.8 million.

Criss was previously an administrator in the Ephrata School District, where she was a pre-kindergarten through fourth grade principal from 2004 to 2011.

While in Ephrata, she was an instructor for graduate and undergraduate programs in education for Heritage University’s Moses Lake branch.

After interviews with the three finalists Thursday, the board may conduct site visits to the each of their current school districts next week.

The School Board could select the new superintendent as soon as May 18.

The district’s choice will succeed Kevin Chase. He was selected as the superintendent of Educational Service District No. 105.

The new superintendent starts work July 1.



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