The Marysville School Board approved a final timeline for their superintendent search and a base salary of $265,000 for the position during their most recent board meeting.

A timeline for the rest of the process was agreed upon, with the last interviews for the final candidates being scheduled for Feb. 14 and 15.

The board of directors also approved a list of qualities that the GR Recruiting firm will use to whittle down the candidates for the search.

The firm looked at local superintendent agreements to come up with a base salary proposal.

Jim Hager, senior associate with the firm, said, he looked through the current agreements for school districts similar in size to Marysville and in the surrounding area.

“We believe that to be active and current on salaries you need between $265,000 to $270,000 base,” he said.

“The recommendation we would have is to bring the base salary up slightly. We don’t want to be recruiting on a two-year-old salary that isn’t representative,” said associate Kris McDuffy.

The final salary and benefits package can be negotiated with the chosen candidate, she said.

“You’ll have time to talk about benefits package and how you may want to restructure that,” she said.

Of additional concern is that there are a lot of open superintendent positions in the Puget Sound area, including in the Seattle, Highline and Issaquah school districts.

“The competition is going to be keen,” said Hager. “There are so many superintendencies open, not only in the Seattle metropolitan area, but nationwide."

Board members agreed to the increase in superintendent salary.

“I would like to be on the upper end of what we’re talking about,” said board member Katie Jackson.

The recruiting firm will be using the results of a community survey to help narrow down the candidate list.

Participants in the survey were asked what traits they would like in a superintendent and picked several out of about 30 options.

The top responses were “being an effective communicator, being accountable for their actions, having ethics and integrity,” according to Jennifer Coisson, an associate with GR Recruiting.

“These are criteria that we would use as filters to assess the qualifications of candidates,” said Hager.

The school board approved the top community responses to serve as a guide for the recruiting firm, pulling only one trait up for increased important: the ability to make tough decisions.

“We need a strong leader who is going to make good decisions which sometimes won’t be popular,” said board member Wade Rinehardt.

The community survey was available online and in six languages. About 61 percent of respondents were staff members and about 35 percent were parents of a current student (with some overlap between those two categories as well).

According to the survey, the top three issues that respondents think the superintendent should focus on immediately are student support services, equity and diversity and academic rigor.

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