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Blaine County School District Narrows Superintendent Choice

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By Paul Johnson

Hailey, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) - The Blaine County School District has narrowed the search for a Superintendent down to two people. On April 22 the district is inviting the public to hear from the final candidates in a public forum. That all happens at 6 pm at the Distance Learning Lab at Wood River High School, 1250 Fox Acres Road in Hailey.
This public forum will be moderated by the executive search firm Ray and Associates. Each candidate will have a separate time allotted during the forum to introduce themselves and answer several questions. The public may submit questions for the candidates at the beginning of the forum or at www.blaineschools.org. Look for the question box on the lower left corner of the website. Questions will be selected based on the themes from the focus groups held in February. Neither candidate will know the questions ahead of time. The same set of questions will be used for both candidates. The public will have an opportunity to complete a candidate feedback form at the end of each Q&A, which will be one factor in the Board’s final selection.

The two final candidates for the Superintendent position are:

Dr. GwenCarol Holmes is currently the Chief Academic Officer of Alexandria Public Schools in Alexandria, Virginia. Prior to her position at Alexandria Public Schools, Dr. Holmes was the Chief Operating Officer of the Success for All Foundation and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Education. She attended Kansas State University and earned two master’s degrees and a doctorate of education in educational administration. Her father and uncle first brought her to Blaine County for a backpacking trip when she was a teenager and she has returned regularly ever since.

Dr. Richard Canfield is the Superintendent of Schools for Sandwich Public Schools in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Prior to his position with Sandwich Public Schools, Dr. Canfield was Assistant Superintendent for the Monroe, Connecticut schools. He earned his doctorate at St. John’s University in Queens, NY, his masters degree from the University of Bridgeport and his bachelor’s degree from Springfield College, MA. Dr. Canfield and his wife own a home in Blaine County and have vacationed here since 1992.

This hiring process comes on the heals of the district agreeing to pay the former superintendent $600,000 in a separation agreement. In October of 2013, The Blaine County School Board of Trustees released the details of the agreement between the district and former Superintendent Dr. Lonnie Barber.

According to information released by the district, the separation was due to differences in leadership style and approach. Both parties also acknowledged the changing dynamics of the relationship and recognized that a positive culture is vital to student success.

Chairman Paul Bates said, “Since Dr. Barber’s employment contract was entered into in good faith, it was important to honor the contract.”
The district said that after looking a the overall value of the contract a negotiated settlement of $600,000 dollars was agreed upon. Trustee Kathryn Graves said, “We recognize that this is a substantial sum of taxpayer money, but felt that the leadership considerations outweighed the financial consideration.”





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