On Monday, March 2 the two hopefuls for the superintendent position of the Edmonds School District, Dr. Gustavo Balderas and Dr. Deborah Rumbagh, answered questions live from an audience mostly consisting of teachers at Meadowdale High School. The event was also live streamed over the District’s YouTube channel. The questions covered a broad range of topics, including program funding and professional development of District staff.
Each candidate gave a brief introductory statement before being given about a minute to answer each question handed to them by the moderator.
Dr. Balderas went first, discussing his immigrant background and how he had applied this to his current position as superintendent of the Eugene School District 4J in Eugene, Oregon. He emphasized that many students come to school traumatized and that it greatly affects their performance and engagement in school activities. He also placed an emphasis on improving relationships between higher district officials and teachers as well as improving the middle school experience for students.
After a 10 minute break, Dr. Rumbagh gave her introduction, which focused on her background as a mother of nine and as area superintendent for secondary schools at Highline Public Schools in Burien. She was faced with difficult questions concerning the high teacher turnover experienced by secondary schools in the Highline service area, which she addressed by saying that she would not necessarily replicate the same practices if she was appointed as superintendent. She also emphasized her idea of district’s deciding for themselves on their own policies, rather than copying those of surrounding districts.
The ESD Board of Directors began working to find a new superintendent after current Superintendent Kris McDuffy announced her plans to retire in June before the beginning of the current school year. The candidate that is hired by the District to fill the superintendent position will begin serving in the role on July 1 pending the completion of contract negotiations.