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LWSD selects Haddock to be next superintendent
MARYSVILLE President of the Lakewood School District Board of Directors Oscar Escalante said, in the end, his board members decided there was no reason to look outside the systems borders for new leadership.
We all agreed we have a candidate that (would) be one of the best choices for our district, he said.
Instead of mounting a major search to replace departing Superintendent Larry Francois, the Lakewood board has moved to promote Assistant Superintendent Dennis Haddock.
Haddock has been an assistant to Francois for three years, but if all goes as planned by the school board, he will move into the top spot July 1.
After five years with the Lakewood schools, Francois is taking over as superintendent of the larger Northshore School District in Bothell.
According to the Lakewood district, Haddock has 27 years of education experience. Haddock said he started out as a school psychologist before switching to administration about 20 years ago.
Again according to information provided by the district, Haddock has spent his time in Lakewood primarily dealing with human resources, special programs and student services.
Before joining the Lakewood schools, Haddock most recently had spent three years with the Lake Stevens district where he was director of human resources. He also spent time with the Mukilteo, Anacortes and Olympia school districts.
Haddock earned a bachelors degree in psychology at Washington State University and his doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Washington.
For the future in Lakewood, Haddock said he is naturally grateful voters passed a renewal levy earlier this year along with a new issue that will help fund technology improvements throughout the system. The latter issue should provide, he added, some great learning experiences.
With the passage of those two ballot measures, Haddock said, at least financially, the district is in pretty good shape and he doesnt foresee any immediate need for further financial levies. In other areas, Haddock said the district faces some of the same challenges as neighboring schools.
Among other issues, Haddock referred to an existing achievement gap between minority and non-minority students. He also talked about building better partnerships with district parents and dealing with the familiar issues surrounding state mandated testing and accountability measures.
Following Francoiss decision to leave the district, the school board held at least two special meetings. At the first, Escalante said members discussed promoting from within or hiring a search consultant and mounting what might have been a nationwide hunt for a new superintendent.
The district is in such good shape, we want to make sure everything is considered, Escalante said following the first special session.
In the end, Escalante said the board saw a couple of problems with mounting a major search to replace Francois. Specifically mentioning Granite Falls and Longview, Escalante said several local districts have experienced problems attracting quality superintendent candidates.
We just decided to take a look inside, he said, adding Haddock became what appeared to be a natural choice.
People already know him and he knows them, Escalante said. He knows the system.
Both Haddock and Escalante declined to discuss what sort of salary Haddock might receive as the new superintendent. The board plans another special meeting 5:30 p.m. March 26 in the district conference room with the intention, Escalante said, of finalizing an employment agreement with Haddock.