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Hyde not returning as BSD superintendent

In what came as a surprise to many Thursday night, interim Bremerton School District Superintendent Bette Hyde announced that she is leaving the district to pursue another career opportunity at the end of the school year.

That announcement effectively ended the battle between community members and the Bremerton School District Board of Directors over how long Hyde should remain superintendent after being rehired in August on an interim basis, which came just months after Hyde retired last April.

Board President Cynthia Galloway thanked the public for all of the feedback the board has received on the superintendent search issue and asked those who have communicated their concerns to the board to take action.

"It would be great to have you join the superintendent search task force," Galloway said. "To borrow a phrase from President Obama, 'Yes, we can. Yes, we will get the job done we have as elected officials."

Now is time for the community to come together and do what's best for the children in the district and "be effective role models and leaders," she said.

Board member Louis Mitchell, who had been outspoken in his pleas for the board to expedite its superintendent search, asked that the board hear from professionals in the superintendent search arena before deciding which course of action to pursue regarding finding Hyde's replacement.

Fellow board member Pat Jones reiterated his concerns about the potential costs of a nationwide search during a time when the district is looking at budget cuts across the board.

"I'm still saying we should look inside and look close for a superintendent," Jones said.

Jones recommended that district personnel director Denise Zaske continue gathering information for the board about the search, so the board will have enough information to move ahead with the search.

Before the board begins its search, board member DeWayne Boyd asked that the board acknowledge some harsh realities resulting from the bitter debate over Hyde's return and the way the board has proceeded so far with the search.

Among those realities are the negative publicity the district has received over the past few months and how a potential candidate might perceive how the board operates, Boyd said.

"We need an organization that will go out and be an advocate for the district," he said.

The board also needs to reaffirm what it is seeking in the district's next superintendent, because Boyd said he doesn't want to see the district take a step backwards after Hyde leaves at the end of the school year.

On the cost front, Boyd said in addition to the cost of hiring a search firm, the board needs to be aware of the costs associated with bringing in candidates for interviews as well.

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