Trustees inching closer to decision on school chief |

Trustees inching closer to decision on school chief

by Scott Murphy, Staff Writer

At least one Douglas County school trustee wants to skip a possible national search for Superintendent Pendery Clark’s replacement.

Trustee Jim Keegan said Friday he wants a chance to vote on naming Interim Superintendent John Soderman as Clark’s replacement before the board conducts a national search.

Douglas County trustees will decide next month on what kind of search they want to conduct for Clark’s replacement.

Clark’s resignation is effective Oct. 31. She will become superintendent of the San Mateo-Foster City School District in San Mateo, Calif.

Keegan said he prefers to show “support and confidence in Soderman” by not conducting a national search.

The comment came after trustees conducted a workshop Thursday at Sierra Nevada Golf Ranch in Genoa. They also discussed the district’s strategic plan.

Trustees will discuss during an Oct. 9 meeting at Carson Valley Middle School whether to hold an estimated $20,000 search for Clark’s replacement.

A vote on the decision would then occur at a previously scheduled meeting, which was a non-action meeting, set for Oct. 23 at Douglas High School.

Clark was absent from Thursday’s meeting.

If a search is conducted, Keegan said that about March 1, he wants a chance to examine Soderman’s performance.

He also hesitated to launch a national search next month.

“(Soderman) won’t have had a chance to perform” by then, he said. Keegan added he wants a chance soon to hire Soderman permanently.

Soderman said during Thursday’s meeting it’s important the board launch a search as soon as possible, because potential candidates will have accepted positions by the end of April 2002.

Soderman said if the board decides to conduct a national search during an upcoming meeting, he wouldn’t view it as a “vote of no confidence.”

Also Thursday, trustees discussed how to communicate better with each other and examined Soderman’s transition plan.

Soderman said he is considering whether to hire additional interim employees to cover his job as personnel director when he takes over for Clark on Nov. 1.

Soderman said even if two people move into his position, they will share one salary.

Soderman will present a transition plan at the board’s Oct. 9 meeting.

Also, Board President Cheri Johnson told trustees that if an issue is discussed with two or more other board members, she wants to be made aware.

She added she will try to contact trustees via e-mail when it’s needed.

However, Keegan said he doesn’t want to be sent unimportant material.

n Staff writer Scott Murphy can be reached via e-mail at