A longtime Kennewick School District employee and a former Lake Washington superintendent are facing off to be the next Kennewick schools leader.
The school board settled this week on two finalists, Doug Christensen and Traci Pierce, after interviewing four preliminary candidates during a special board meeting.
An observer panel of staff and community members sat in on the interviews.
Christensen’s career with the school district started in 1996.
He’s held spots as a teacher and an assistant principal for Kamiakin High School. He also has been director of special services for the district before becoming the assistant superintendent of human resources.
Since holding that position, Christensen has navigated teacher shortages and last year’s contract negotiations.
Pierce spent six years leading one of the largest school districts in the state, Lake Washington.
The Western Washington district includes Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish. She left the spot at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year to become the director of college and career readiness.
At the time district officials told Patch.com that Pierce felt like it was the right move for the district and for herself.
She has held spots as the deputy superintendent of instructional services, chief schools officer, director of teaching and learning, coordinator of instructional technology and was a principal and assistant principal.
Pierce has been looking for a top spot in other districts, as well. The Spokesman-Review reported she was one of three finalists to lead the Mead School District.
Public meetings next week
The two finalists will meet with school district administrators, teachers, business leaders and others next week.
The public can meet Pierce on May 28 and Christensen on May 30 at 7 p.m. at the Administration Center, at 1000 W. Fourth Avenue.
The person picked to replace longtime Superintendent Dave Bond will be hired as deputy superintendent at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. Once the person becomes comfortable, Bond plans to retire.
Northwest Leadership Associates began its search shortly after Bond announced he planned to leave.
They collected more than 20 applicants and presented four preliminary candidates to the board. The other two candidates were Middleton (Idaho) Superintendent Josh Middleton and Moses Lake Assistant Superintendent Carole Meyer.
The salary range for the new hire is expected to be between $160,000 and $180,000.