Bremerton school board undecided on superintendent search

Final decision expected in early January.

Seven months have passed since Bremerton School District (BSD) Superintendent Bette Hyde announced her retirement last April.

As of Tuesday, the majority of the BSD Board of Directors remained unclear on the best course of action in finding Hyde’s replacement.

The school board held the first of three study sessions on the issue Tuesday, with one slated for Dec. 16 and the final session set for Dec. 18.

In his opening remarks, board member DeWayne Boyd said in his mind there are several key questions the board must answer before it begins its superintendent search.

However, that didn’t deter board member Louis Mitchell, who has pushed for an immediate search to begin in the past few months, from asking his fellow board members to join in his pursuit.

“We knew Bette was retiring back in April,” Mitchell said, eluding to the apparent lack of progress by the board on the issue until Tuesday night’s meeting. “If we knew she was going to stay longer, that would buy us more time.”

If Hyde elects not to remain with the district beyond her current interim contract, which expires in August, the search would have to begin immediately, Mitchell said, suggesting the board have Hyde answer the question at Thursday’s regular school board meeting.

“What I’m going to say is that it isn’t fair to put her on the spot in a public meeting,” Boyd replied.

“We can’t do it in private,” Mitchell retorted.

“The board president sure as hell can,” Boyd said.

“If we know we have a vacancy, we need to start in January,” Mitchell said, referring to the fact that January is the official start of the superintendent search season.

Board President Cynthia Galloway stepped in and said she would speak with Hyde.

“I say a superintendent search is inevitable,” board member Vicki Collins said. “The question is when.”

Collins said right now she doesn’t have enough information to make a decision on the superintendent search, adding that “I still have questions.”

“A good school district is important to the community, and I do not need to be rushed on this,” Collins said. “I have no personal agenda other than I live here.”

Boyd said the decision the board makes in hiring a new superintendent will have a significant impact on the district’s future.

“If we do it right, it will have a positive impact for the next 10 to 15 years,” Boyd said. “If we can do that, I can move on.”

One aspect of successful school districts is they have superintendents who remain with their respective districts for long periods of time, board member Pat Jones said.

Collins agreed with Jones, saying she would like to see the board hire someone who is committed to the district instead of “cutting their teeth in Bremerton, getting their credentials and moving on.”

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