New superintendent now on the job, preparing for first board meeting

Source: The Wenatchee World

WENATCHEE — New Wenatchee schools Superintendent Paul Gordon talked up team collaboration, culture building and the importance of plans with clear outcomes in February when he was a candidate for the job.

He is looking to put talk into action in his first days on the job, according to a 10-page transition plan that will be presented to the school board Wednesday. The special meeting, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the district’s central office, 235 Sunset Ave., will be his first official public meeting with the five board members who hired him. He started July 1.


Termed a “retreat,” the meeting is open to the public and will be livestreamed, but a time for public comment is not included on the agenda.

The meeting, according to the agenda, is designed to “establish a direction and working relationship between the board, superintendent and district staff." It includes a review of board operating principles, such as email and social media use, and discussion of board responsibilities, along with a look at meeting protocols for details as fine as who sits where. Discussion of a board self-assessment tool, superintendent evaluation process and strategic plan direction also are listed, along with the presentation of Gordon’s transition plan.

That six-month plan — with English and Spanish versions included in the meeting packet — is spelled out in its tagline: “Listen. Learn. Lead.”

Gordon is spending July and August introducing himself to school board members, school staff and community organizations while gearing up for a smooth start to the school year. Interviews with the media have been postponed until August, the district’s communications director announced July 1.

September, October and early November will be spent gathering data by engaging in active conversations with staff and community members, participating in community and school-based activities. By the end of December, Gordon expects to present a summary report to the board, outlining findings, observations and next steps.

“My transition plan is about connecting with people, listening and learning about the Wenatchee Public Schools,” Gordon states in the introduction.

The plan outlines six goals, complete with objectives and action steps.

  • Develop strong board/superintendent relationships and governance practices.
  • Cultivate a supportive and positive district climate/culture.
  • Build and sustain trust with parents, community leaders and district stakeholders.
  • Understand the current instructional systems, structures and strategies to improve upon successes.
  • Deepen understanding of the district’s and state’s financial short- and long-term forecasts.
  • Learn organizational structures and functions.

Gordon replaces Brian Flones, who resigned in June after 19 years on the job and 32 years in the district. Flones requested last year to be released a year early from his contract, an announcement that came about six months after the election of three new board members who campaigned on a platform of making change.

Gordon was selected in February from a slate of three finalists invited for interviews. He previously was superintendent of the Glen Ellyn School District 41 in Illinois, where he had worked since 2013. Before that, he was chief academic officer in the Adams 12 Five Star School District in Colorado.

He started his career in education as an English and reading teacher before moving into administration.