Naselle-GRV School Board Transitions into new year
January 25, 2024
In December the Naselle-Grays River Valley School Board made changes with new members coming aboard. Members voted to elect Robert Torppa as chair and Amy Hunt as vice-chair. At that meeting, the new chair announced he wanted to put into place two changes for board meetings: public comments would be held to three minutes; and minutes would be shortened to reflect the business decisions made by the board rather than records of everything said by audience as comments.
The school board began moving in new directions with their first two meetings of the year. On Jan. 16, they met for their regular monthly meeting. Lisa Nelson, superintendent of ten years, resigned and the board accepted her resignation. Torppa expressed appreciation for her commitment to the job, the school, and the students.
Nelson will end her time as superintendent on Aug. 30. By resigning at the beginning of the next school year, she will be able to finish the current year, oversee the construction and renovation of the music and shop rooms, and help orient a new superintendent who will hopefully be hired during the summer.
The board discussed moving forward with hiring a consulting firm to help search for the new superintendent. Proposals for the contract had already been received, but the board members had not had time to read them and were not prepared to move forward to vote for one.
One of the written proposals had not arrived until that day, so the Chair suggested scheduling another meeting to review and choose the best one. The Board agreed to hold a special meeting on the following Thursday to review and choose the best firm to assist the Board with hiring a new superintendent. Chairman Torppa reported he had called the Board’s attorney to verify the legality of holding an open public meeting in that short time frame. He was assured that they would meet the required timeline by placing notices in public, which they did.
After scheduling the second meeting, the regular meeting continued with the agenda that included: finalizing the contract with Erik Fagerland, architect for the Music/Vocational building project. Justin Laine, Principal, gave an update on activities with the various grades and sports.
The chair then introduced Clarissa Colton, who updated the Board regarding her work with students that included robotics, career opportunities and field trips. Lisa Nelson gave her Superintendent’s report and the meeting was adjourned.
The special meeting held on Thursday, January 18 was advertised with notices in various locations in the community and on Facebook. The second board found the members unified in their purpose: to hear proposals from organizations bidding to be considered as consultants to assist the board in hiring a new superintendent. Presentations were made by Educational Service District 112, based in Vancouver; Northwest Leadership Associates; and Nebraska-based recruiting firm McPherson Jacobson.
Two of the presentations were made on Zoom, and one made a personal presentation to the board. After the final presentation, the chair invited all board members to give their thoughts and preferences on which firm to hire. The conversations were in-depth, with time given to each board member to share their impressions and thoughts. Each member spoke and shared their personal views, then the full board engaged in the conversation.
Some of the issues discussed included whether to hold meetings on Zoom or in-person, the best value for the costs, how the superintendent opening would be advertised, whether final applicants would come to Naselle for in-person interviews, local housing challenges, and extra costs that might come up from traveling.
Before the vote, Torppa invited any attendees from the public who had comments on the presentations to offer their thoughts as well. Four shared their ideas. Board member Lonnie Eaton made a motion to hire Northwest Leadership Associates as the board’s choice. The chair called for a vote and votes were unanimous carrying the motion.
As the meeting ended, Torppa stated “This is a great start to the rest of our academic year. I look forward to working with this board and the community to keep our transitions into the coming changes as successful as possible.”