The search for a new superintendent of the Anacortes School District started shortly after current Superintendent Mark Wenzel announced last May that he would be leaving the district after this school year.

Now, the search is likely down to its last few weeks.

Mark Venn, consultant with Northwest Leadership Associates, said the position closed to applications Friday, Feb. 8. Venn and fellow consultant Wayne Robertson are helping guide the School Board through the search process.

The ultimate decision is the board’s alone, Venn said.

Venn said they received 22 completed applications for the district, higher numbers than he normally sees with searches for districts like this one.

“This is one of the best pools we’ve had in a long time,” he said. “That speaks highly of the district and how attractive of a job it is.”

The 22 applicants, which include several women, come from all over the country, Venn said. While the majority are from Washington, about a half-dozen are from out of state, as far away as South Carolina.

The candidates are also coming from a variety of leadership roles, Venn said. Applicants include current superintendents, retired superintendents, principals, assistant superintendents and more.

“There are varying degrees of leadership levels,” Venn said.

He is presenting the consulting firm’s information on candidates to the School Board today, along with results from a community member survey. A total of 233 people responded to the firm’s online survey, with information about what they want in a new superintendent, Venn said.

That’s a great response for a community this size, he said.

That combines with the focus groups Venn and Robertson already completed.

Preliminary interviews with several candidates will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, in the Anacortes High School library. The board will see one candidate at a time throughout the day.

Then, it will choose its top three to meet individually the following week.

Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 25-27, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. each day, the top three candidates will present to the board and answer questions. Those interviews also will be in the AHS library.

The public is welcome at all interviews.

“This won’t be an easy decision,” Venn said. “We don’t want it to be an easy decision.”

The board will then likely make a choice Friday, Feb, 28, at a public meeting, Venn said.

“There’s nobody out of the running until the board votes in that public meeting,” Venn said.

If that happens, as scheduled, the district would be in a good spot for a smooth transition with Wenzel, who will be leading a school in Singapore next year.

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