Earlier this year, Superintendent Christy Perry announced her plan to retire at the end of the 2022-23 school year. The Salem-Keizer Public Schools Board of Directors have since launched the process of selecting the next leader for the state’s second-largest school district. 

In September 2022, the school board started the process by selecting Human Capital Enterprises as the district’s executive search firm to establish a timeline for the search, evaluation process and selection of the district’s next superintendent. The process for the superintendent search is led by the school board in collaboration with HCE.

Superintendent hiring process and standards

During the board’s regular business meeting on Nov. 8, 2022, the board voted to approve the Superintendent Hiring Process and Standards, which can be viewed below. 

View the Superintendent Hiring Process and Standards.

As part of this process, the board unanimously voted to carry forth a confidential search process, meaning the applicants will remain confidential at all stages of the review and interview process. 

“The candidates, when they apply, are told that this will be a confidential process — that in no way would anybody in their current employment or anyone else know they applied for this position,” said board chairperson Carson Cottingham. “That requires us to make sure that anyone we’re inviting to participate understands that this promise has been made.”  

Community involvement and stakeholder feedback

Throughout this process, the board and HCE collected feedback from district stakeholders to ensure community voice is reflected in the selection of the next superintendent.

In the fall, the firm opened an online survey to gather perspectives on the ideal profile for the new superintendent. Nearly 1,200 individuals responded to the survey to share their thoughts with the firm. Respondents included:

  • 49 students
  • 646 parents/guardians
  • 63 community members
  • 429 staff (including licensed, classified and administrative)

The firm also held engagement opportunities, including focus group sessions and community-based interview panels, to ensure that a diverse representation of community voices provided input when developing the superintendent candidate criteria and when interviewing the finalists. 

More than 20 engagement sessions were held to incorporate 331 participants during community-based focus groups, including community members, students, parents/guardians, teachers/licensed staff, classified/support staff and administration.

Three community-based interview panels, including one conducted entirely in Spanish, consisted in total of:

  • 7 students
  • 8 parents/guardians
  • 7 community members
  • 10 staff (including licensed, classified and administrative)

Superintendent search timeline and next steps

At this point in the process, the board will move forward with finalist first-round interviews, which occurred on Saturday, Feb. 11. Finalists were selected by the school board after all previous steps in the process have been completed including community input and the creation of the ideal profile for the district’s next superintendent, first-round interviews and confidential community-based interviews.

The following timeline was approved by the Salem-Keizer School Board during the Nov. 8 Business Session meeting. 

View the superintendent search timeline

Stay up-to-date

Interested in staying up-to-date on the ongoing process to select the district’s next superintendent? Follow the district’s official social media channels, regularly check back on the Community Engagement web page and ensure contact information is accurate with any schools you may have children attending.