OROVILLE – Although the job was widely advertised, the Oroville School Board had to look no further than from within the district to find their new superintendent, current OHS Principal Steve Quick.
Quick was approved at the school board’s Monday, Feb. 22 meeting after contract and salary discussions were held that evening between the board and the would-be superintendent.
School Director Jerry Nelson made the motion to select Quick and it received a second from Director Verle Rowton and the motion was approved unanimously.
Quick will change hats from principal to superintendent on July 1, 2010. In his three-year contract the new superintendent will receive $98,000 a year and have 12 paid holidays and 25 paid vacation days for a total of 223 work days. His contract will be reviewed annually on or before Feb. 1 “to consider whether a new three-year contract shall be awarded in lieu of the remaining portion of the contract” or whether it will be allowed to run its full three years without renewal. The contract also includes medical benefits, including dental and optical.
In addition, the new superintendent is obligated in the contract to be a member and active participant in the local chamber of commerce.
Quick was one of three candidates that made the final cut from more than half a dozen applicants. Quick, Marcus Morgan, superintendent of the Chewelah School District and Karl Ostheller, superintendent and K-12 principal for the Ione, Ore School District, met with students and staff during the school day and community members, both at a business luncheon and an evening meeting, last Tuesday, Feb. 16 to face questions and interviews. About 35 people attended the community meeting Tuesday evening where the three each got a chance to meet the public separately and answer questions. Community members were encouraged to fill out a short survey about their likes and dislikes about each candidate.
The evening meeting with the candidates was organized by Steve McKenna, a consultant hired by the Oroville School District to aid in the superintendent search after current superintendent, Ernie Bartelson, resigned his position effective at the end of the school year. McKenna works for the North Central Educational Services District (NCESD).
“I have to say we had some of the best prepared and best asked questions by a group of students I’ve ever worked with,” said McKenna, prior to the candidates each coming out one at a time to meet the community members at the evening meeting. “You should be proud of them and the teachers, they were well prepared and asked the right questions.”
Quick said he came to Oroville from Forks, Wash. After he was hired as the Oroville High School Principal. He grew up in Spokane where he attended West Valley High School. He graduated from Eastern Washington University with degrees in Spanish and Math in 1995 after a short stint at Montana Tech where he decided he had “no interest in being a minerals or mining engineer.”
He learned Spanish after being on a two-year mission for the LDS Church in Uruguay, he said.
“I got my first job in education in southwestern Washington in Nacelle, a small town where I coached about every sport possible,” said Quick. “The last three years I was principal, got my Masters and decided to look into school administration.”
Quick said once he had got into the school administration end of education he really enjoyed it, as he was then able to make larger changes for his building. He then got his Doctorate of Education and Superintendent Credentials.
“After Nacelle I went to Forks where we had 135″ of rain a year,” Quick said.
When asked what changes he has made since becoming Oroville’s high school principal. He said the ball had already started rolling in preparation for the state-mandated WASL testing, but Quick felt he had helped to further prepare the building when the testing began.
He was asked why he wanted the job and answered, “It’s another challenge in my career personally… I’ve been a principal for 10 years. I also love the community and feel we were accepted here right away, especially my kids.”
Quick said his first change would be to create a strategic plan to find out what everyone else feels needs to be changed. “I don’t want it to be my change, but everyone else’s change,” he said.
When asked how long he sees his tenure in the Oroville District, he said, “As superintendent your time declines in how long you work for a district. I’d like to be here a long time, certainly long enough to see my son graduate and he is in the eighth grade.
Quick said his hobbies include waterskiing, running, lifting weights, hiking and geo-caching. “I also like to skateboard once in awhile,” he said.
Chewelah Superintendent Morgan said he had been with that district for the past seven years. That he had experience passing levies and grant writing and that Chewelah, like Oroville, had been experiencing dwindling enrollment over the past few years.
When asked why he was leaving the Chewelah School District he said, “Nationally a superintendent’s reign is two years, I’ve been there seven years and feel I’ve accomplished what I wanted to do. There’s a new board and I think it’s time I transferred my skills elsewhere… it’s time for a change.”
He said he began looking at Oroville after he spoke with Dr. Rich McBride with the NCESD who thought it would be a “great fit.”
The third candidate, Ostheller, said he was the superintendent for the Ione, Ore. School District as well as principal for K-12. He described the district as small and said he wanted to move back to Washington where he grew up. Ostheller said Oregon does not have a levy system so he had no experience passing levies. He did, however have some experience with administering grants, although not writing them.
After the student, staff and community meetings on Tuesday, the school board met in closed-door executive session where they narrowed the candidates to two – Quick and Morgan. They held an additional executive session on Wednesday, Feb. 17 to further study the qualifications of the two remaining applicants.