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Bellevue Superintendent Search Could Conclude by June, Says Search Firm

Despite being more than halfway through the school year, the Bellevue School District could find its new superintendent by June, says McPherson and Jacobson.

It might not be too late to find a superintendent to replace former Bellevue Superintendent Amalia Cudeiro, says a search firm hired Wednesday night by the Bellevue School District.

McPherson and Jacobson consultants Mike Boring and Al Cohen, former school administrators in Washington, described a timeline that includes advertising for the position starting today, and bringing finalists to the district for interviews by May.

The group's contract with the district is for $26,000, not including expenses, and will be until the board hires the district, Cohen said.

Cohen, who has been an educator at Seattle, Northshore, Clover Park and Olympia, said that the group's searches have never extended into two years.

"If we extend into two years, you're getting a special deal," Cohen told the board.

The group, which has searched for superintendents for districts nationally and in Washington state, also plans to recruit candidates to add to the current pool of 13 applicants, which is something that board president Paul Mills said was exciting.

"Their enthusiasm is infectious, and they want to work with us," he said.

The board hired the search firm after -- Enfield took the top job at Highline School District before she was brought to interview in Bellevue. 

Board members discussed a fast track interview process for Enfield, who had been one of the finalists in the Bellevue job when Cudeiro was hired in 2009, because she was being recruited by Highline. 

The three board members on the board in 2009, Paul Mills, Chris Marks and Mike Murphy, pushed for an accelerated interview process with Enfield, while the two newest board members, Christine Chew and Steve McConnell, called for caution, . They said that the community's priorities had changed significantly since 2009 and that a fair and transparent hiring process should take precedence, even if that meant losing Enfield as a candidate.

Cudeiro , citing the need to tend to her mother's terminal illness.

The search firm that worked with the Bellevue district during the last search that resulted in the hiring of Cudeiro, Hazzard, Young, Attea and Associates, opted not to work with Bellevue this time, Mills said, because of time constraints and because of what the HYA principle descibed as "trust issues" among the board members, Mills said.

"That is her opinion," Mills added.

HYA's consulant told the district that rapport among the school board members was something that candidates find desireable, and that the level of trust wasn't high on the Bellevue district board, Mills said.

"That is something we could work on," Mills said.

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