It's been nearly a month since former Portland Public Schools superintendent Carole Smith resigned in the wake of revelations of elevated lead levels in school drinking water.
The school board is poised to appoint her temporary replacement tonight: a retired superintendent from a small neighboring school district. Bob McKean led the East Portland school district of Centennial for seven years before retiring in 2010.
McKean is the lone finalist for the post after another candidate withdrew, citing personal reasons, according to the announcement.
The school board is expected to vote on McKean's appointment this evening.
"Bob brings extensive experience as a manager and an educator," says Board Chair Tom Koehler in a statement. "His record of advancing equality in education with a commitment to accountability and transparency is exactly the kind of leadership we need during this interim period as we identify the best candidate to fill the job permanently."
The school board will conduct a search for a permanent replacement for Smith who they plan to appoint within the year.
PPS's full announcement is below:
Portland School Board Announces Interim Superintendent Finalist
Portland, Oregon — Today the Portland Public Schools Board of Education announced that it will vote tonight on the final candidate, Bob McKean, to serve as the Interim Superintendent of PPS for the 2016-17 school year while the board conducts a nationwide search for a permanent Superintendent to be in place before the following school year.
Bob McKean will join members of the Board at a meet and greet tonight from 4 -5 pm at the district main office auditorium, as previously announced last week.
There were 11 applicants for the Interim Superintendent position. All eight board members interviewed 5 candidates over two days. Two finalists emerged, one of which withdrew for personal reasons.
“We look forward to introducing Bob to the community prior to our vote this evening,” PPS Board Chair Tom Koehler said. “Bob brings extensive experience as a manager and an educator. His record of advancing equality in education with a commitment to accountability and transparency is exactly the kind of leadership we need during this interim period as we identify the best candidate to fill the job permanently.”
Bob McKean has spent 37 years in public education, serving as a teacher, principal, director of curriculum and instruction, assistant superintendent and superintendent. Currently a member of the Board for All Hands Raised, a non-profit focused on improving academic and career opportunities for youth in Multnomah County, McKean most recently served as the Superintendent for the Centennial School District in Gresham/Portland for 7 years.
Prior to moving to Oregon, McKean dedicated his professional career to public education in Maryland and Montana, teaching elementary, middle and high school. He also served as a principal of three elementary schools before moving into an administrative role as director of curriculum and instruction for Havre Public Schools in Montana. From that role McKean was appointed as the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for Missoula County Public Schools before serving as Superintendent for Centennial. McKean also learned valuable lessons about leadership during his 11 years as a U.S. Forest Service smokejumper. He has applied those lessons to his nearly 40 years in education.
The Board will hold an executive session following the meet and greet and is expected to advance a resolution to hire the Interim Superintendent at this evening’s board meeting, which will immediately follow the executive session.