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Bremerton school board, advisory group interview 2 interim supt. candidates

Rowley, McCarthy ‘very different’ from one another.

The Bremerton school board, and a 13-member advisory panel interviewed two finalists Tuesday for the district’s vacant interim superintendent job, a position the board hopes to fill before the 2008-09 school year begins.

Recently appointed pro tem superintendent Linda Jenkins will manage the district until an interim is hired.

The finalists, Stephen Rowley and Tim McCarthy, completed two 75-minute interviews, one with the board and another with the advisory group, the latter being open to the public.

Both men are experienced administrators, having held previous superintendent positions.

During the advisory interviews, both expressed support for co-curricular activities and the recruitment of teachers of color.

Rowley, 59, manned the Bainbridge Island School District from 1997 to 2002 before moving to the Fremont Union High School District in Sunnyvale, Calif., where he was superintendent from 2002 to 2008. He also was an assistant superintendent in the Bellingham School District from 1992 to 1997.

He called his management style “relatively informal” and said he would “breathe life into” the district’s vision.

“I understand what it is to have this vision,” he said. “Vision is compelling.”

A clear vision, Rowley said, led to the construction of Sakai Intermediate School on Bainbridge Island, one of his career highlights.

“You really learn a lot by listening,” he added. “You’re just not going to be legitimate if you don’t take the time to know people.”

He also called the Pacific Northwest home, saying “coming back would be really terrific.”

Rowley stressed the importance of building and maintaining a strong infrastructure and said the job boils down to supporting students.

“You really just have to love the kids,” he added.

McCarthy, 54, who recently relocated to Bremerton and was the superintendent of Hoquiam School District from 1998 to 2006, called Bremerton “on the cusp of greatness.”

“I’m a resident right here in Bremerton,” he said. “This is the only position I’m looking at, frankly.”

Prior to Hoquiam, McCarthy led the St. John and Endicott School Districts from 1992 to 1998 as superintendent. He was the director of Pupil Services in the Cheney School District from 1986 to 1992.

McCarthy called himself “performance-based” and somebody who would hire the very best people, emphasizing “intelligent thought.”

While a believer in “participatory management,” he said it takes more than participation to succeed.

“I really believe in team management,” he said.

Actions speak louder than words, he added, borrowing a phrase from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“What we do speaks so loudly no one can hear what we say,” he said.

McCarthy said he would be a visible superintendent, both to students and staff.

He also described his five “principles of operation;” positive attitude, roles and goals, support and cooperation, listening and communication.

The board met in another closed session following the interviews. It has yet to make a decision and will continue to accept applications for the position, board member DeWayne Boyd said.

“All I can tell you is they were really different from one another in terms of approach and personality,” Boyd said. “The situation, at this point, is we’ve got some follow-up to do.”

The district hired a consultant, Gay Selby, who has helped throughout the hiring process.

Consultants are people around the state with education experience who notify potential candidates of job openings, help screen and conduct background investigations and help keep the hiring process orderly, among others, Boyd said.

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