First round interviews lead to Haws and Jacobus moving forward

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Interviews of six candidates on Saturday, May 5, led to the selection of Lolli Haws and Keith Jacobus as finalists for the position of Superintendent of South Washington County Schools.
Currently Instructional Superintendent for District of Columbia Public Schools, Washington D.C., Dr. Lolli Haws, also has experience as an Elementary Principal in the state of Virginia and Missouri. Her career started in Intermediate District 287, Minnesota, as a teacher. She holds a PhD from St. Louis University, a Masters in Education from Southern Illinois University, and BA from Augustana College in South Dakota.
Haws, a self-described educator at heart, responded, “We need to teach for our child’s future, not for our past,” when asked what are the key challenges we face in providing a true 21st century education. “We are still way too stuck in teaching the way we were taught and still holding school the way we went to school when we were kids.”
Dr. Keith Jacobus is currently serving as Assistant Superintendent of Leadership, Teaching and Learning, for the Osseo Area School District, Osseo, Minnesota. He has also been Director of Schools for the Douglas County School District in Castle Rock, Colorado. Other administrative experiences include being the Executive Director of Learning Services, and Executive Director of Personnel Services, and Principal for the Lewis-Palmer High School, all with the Lewis-Palmer School District in Monument, Colorado. Jacobus’ degrees include a PhD from the University of Denver, Masters in Education from Lesley College and BS from Colorado State University.
When asked what he’s learned about our district through his research he said, “I’ve heard wonderful things about the culture of this district being student-centered and people-centered.” He added that a culture that included this focus would be important. If selected as superintendent, he would like employees and others to say, “at least Keith knows what I’m doing.” He would work to be visible to the point that people recognize that he is well aware of what is going on across the district.
During recent days, the district learned that an earlier candidate Keith Rittel had accepted a position as Superintendent in Utah. As interviews progressed on Saturday, the search firm learned that another candidate Gerald Hill also accepted a superintendent position with another district; he was not interviewed on Saturday.
The finalist interviews will take place this week on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 8 and 9. Dr. Keith Jacobus will be interviewing on Tuesday, and Dr. Lolli Haws on Wednesday. Each of the candidates will spend the full day in the district. From 4 to 4:50 p.m. each of those days all staff have an opportunity to visit and hear from candidates in the staff development room at East Ridge High School. From 5 to 5:50 p.m. on these days, staff, parents, students and the community in general are invited to visit and hear from candidates.

The final interviews for the candidates are scheduled for May 8 at East Ridge High School in the Staff Development Room, and May 9 at the District Service Center in the Board Room, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Should the board be prepared to make a decision on May 9, following the second interview, the announcement may be made that night. If more time is needed, a decision-making meeting of the School Board is set for Thursday, May 10 at 6 p.m. at the DSC. The selected candidate will then work through the negotiation of a contract with approval anticipated at the May 24 School Board Meeting. The new superintendent will begin duties on July 1.

All School Board meetings and interviews are open to the public. The district will not be videotaping any portion of this process until the tentative decision-making meeting on Thursday, May 10, beginning at 6 p.m.

If you have questions or comments about the search, you can contact consultant Ken Dragseth at 952-210-2790 or mdragseth@comcast.net

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