Lance Hahn, the principal of River View High School in Finley, was picked as the next superintendent of the Finley School District at a special board meeting Thursday night.
Superintendent Suzanne Feeney will retire June 30 after nine years in the position.
The board met in a closed-door session for about two and a half hours before returning to open session to vote 4-1 for Hahn. Board Chairman Larry Ayre and members Ken Cox, Pete Buck and Carol Sonderland voted in favor of Hahn, with board member Scott Conley opposed.
However, after the vote, Conley said Hahn would have his full support.
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Many of the staff were hoping that Hahn would be picked, said Rebekah Duty, the high school guidance counselor, at the meeting.
Hahn has served as principal of River View High for one year, but has previous administration experience, Ayre said. He worked as middle school principal and teacher in Finley, though his time in the small district has not been continuous.
The board liked his administration experience, Ayre said.
"He appears to be a great leader," Ayre said.
All the board members have had children attend school in Finley and "want to make sure we provide future kids the same opportunities our kids had," Ayre said.
The board earlier this month narrowed the field of candidates to four and then one dropped out.
Also under consideration Thursday night were Kevin Jacka, superintendent of Mary Walker School District with more than 500 students in Springdale, north of Spokane, and Dana Jones, principal of Pioneer Middle School with more than 600 students in Walla Walla.
About 978 students attend Finley schools.
Board members said they were pleased with the quality of the candidates. A search firm had been hired to find candidates and had received 18 applications for the Finley post.
This is not an easy time to become chief administrator of any district, with state budgets being slashed. But Finley is in good shape financially, its buildings are well maintained and its bond will be paid off in December, Ayre said earlier this month.
The senior staff is stable and the next superintendent should be too, Ayre said.