Superintendent Search

  • Superintendent Donna Colosky has announced her plans to retire effective July 31, 2022. The School Board has begun discussing the process of selecting her successor. This page will be updated regularly with summaries on School Board meetings regarding the selection process.

    Regular school board meetings are open for public viewing (visit the agenda page for a Zoom link) and are recorded for later viewing. There is a public input segment at the start of these meetings. To sign up for public input, you must submit a form at least one hour before the start of the meeting. The form and instructions can be found here.

    Study sessions are open for public viewing but are not recorded. No action may be taken at study sessions. The schedule of meetings can be found here. Please check back on this page for the most current information on School Board activity regarding the selection process and upcoming opportunities to provide feedback. The School Board can be reached via e-mail at any time at

    Earlier this year, the School Board requested input from the community to help determine what values are most important to our stakeholders in our next superintendent. The Board used ThoughtExchange to solicit input from our community, and we had tremendous participation throughout the process. There were a total of 1,491 participants in the ThoughtExchange and a total of 1,618 shared thoughts.

    During the Oct. 14th, 2021, School Board meeting, the Board was presented with a summary of the ThoughtExchange results.

    If you would like to view the full results, you can access the results page of the ThoughtExchange through the ThoughtExchange Discover page.

    Lydia Musher from Tradition Search Partners is conducting Zoom meetings with MISD families, teachers and staff from January 10 to January 13 to gather feedback on the characteristics and traits these groups would like to see in the new Superintendent. Families, teachers and staff can sign up to take part in these Zoom meetings on this Sign Up Genius page 

    Search for new Superintendent FAQ

    RFP For Superintendent Search

    Meeting Schedule:

    In Executive Session, the board reviewed a summary of the feedback from the community forum, both candidate by candidate and in a comparative analysis provided by the search consultant. They then conducted a discussion. After emerging from Executive Session into a Special Meeting, the board then took action (after comments by several board directors) on a motion to begin negotiating a contract with Dr. Fred Rundle as the district’s next superintendent, to begin July 1. This motion passed by a vote of 5-0. Dr. Rundle was offered the position via a phone call on speakerphone from the meeting, and he accepted, pending agreement upon a contract.
    Ms. Lydia Musher and the board president performed reference checks on all three finalists — Ms. Erin Murphy, Dr. Jana Parker, and Dr. Fred Rundle — the week of March 14. The board then conducted extended interviews with all three finalists on Monday, March 21. The finalists also attended an evening community forum in which they each in turn answered the same set of questions contributed by parents, students, MISD employees, and other community members. Those who attended the community forum, either in person or via Zoom, were asked to submit feedback via an electronic form by 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 22. The feedback was to be compiled by Ms. Musher and presented to the board before their meeting.

    The board has announced three finalists and invited them to visit Mercer Island on Monday, March 21, the culmination of an exhaustive, months-long national search that began with extensive community engagement. The three extraordinary finalists are Ms. Erin Murphy, Dr. Jana Parker, and Dr. Fred Rundle. Their resumes can be viewed on the Superintendent Finalists page.

    This week, Ms. Musher and the board met in executive session for a total of 10 hours. On Monday, March 7, the board selected seven semifinalist candidates from the pool of 25 presented. On Wednesday, March 9, and Thursday, March 10, the board conducted 45-minute interviews with the semifinalist candidates, narrowing the field. We will be conducting reference checks next week and plan to announce the names of three finalists on Thursday, March 17.

    We have 25 qualified applicants as of March 1, the deadline for application. Search Consultant Lydia Musher and Board President Maggie Tai Tucker are concluding phone screens of all qualified applicants. Mass advertising and individual outreach to potential candidates have concluded. They plan to present the list of candidates to the board on March 7 in an executive session. At that time, the board will choose the candidates it wants to meet by Zoom and prepare questions for those interviews. Following those interviews, the board will select final candidates to invite for public visits and interviews later in March and will make a final selection in April.
    This week, search consultant Lydia Musher attended the national superintendents’ conference to recruit top candidates from diverse backgrounds nationwide. She has also begun some additional outreach to non-traditional candidates. To date, we have nine qualified applicants. Ms. Musher and Board President Maggie Tai Tucker phone screened candidates. A list of candidates will be presented to the board on March 7 in executive session. At that time, the board will choose the candidates it wants to meet by Zoom and prepare the questions for those interviews. The board will select final candidates to invite for public visits later in March and will make a final selection in April.
    This week, search consultant Lydia Musher identified and e-mailed 346 potential candidates from the top 150 districts nationwide. She also placed advertisements in Ed Week and in the publication of AASA, the school superintendents' association. She will be attending the AASA conference in Nashville next week on behalf of the district.
    2/1/2022 Superintendent Job Description
    After five days for public review, the MISD Superintendent job description is now live at Applications will be accepted until March 1. The search consultant and board president will review resumes and conduct phone screening interviews on a rolling basis. Next steps: On March 7, the board will meet to select finalists. Finalist visits should be scheduled by March 21.
    Search consultant Lydia Musher presented the board with the list of priorities / criteria that candidates will be evaluated on. Board members had an opportunity to rank the items on the list individually in a survey ahead of the meeting. After some discussion and a slight reordering, the Board voted unanimously to approve this list of priorities. The board also discussed how applicants will be reviewed and screened during the next month. Next steps: Ms. Musher will write and post a job description.

    1/21/2022 Report to the Board
    Ms. Musher submitted a written report on her meetings to date with district stakeholders, including the board members and more than 120 other parents, teachers, administrators, staff members, students, and community members. The report included a detailed list of priorities which board members were scheduled to discuss and finalize the ranking of during their Jan. 24 meeting.

    1/13/2022 Special Meeting (Update to Board) 
    Ms. Musher met with the board via Zoom to report on her meetings to date with district stakeholders and answered questions about her process and plans. She had spoken with 79 people at the time of the meeting.
    1/10/2022 - 1/20/2022 Search consultant virtual visit
    On January 10, Lydia Musher from Tradition Search Partners began conducting a series of Zoom interviews with district stakeholders (parents, teachers, staff, students, and community members). Most interviews were done in groups of 10, with additional meetings being added as needed. These interviews are scheduled to conclude on 1/20.

    1/2/2022 Contract Signed
    A contract with Tradition Search Partners has been signed. More details will be forthcoming on next steps re. community and school outreach by the search firm.

    12/15/21 Special Meeting
    The board interviewed the third search firm today, then held a discussion and voted on a selection. The board chose Tradition Search Partners of Houston, Texas, conditional upon board representatives (President and Vice President) being able to work out contract details with the firm.

    12/14/21 Special Meeting
    The board interviewed two search firms today. No action was taken.

    12/10/21 Special Meeting
    The board held a special meeting to discuss the five search firms that submitted proposals this week. They voted to advance three firms to Zoom presentations / interviews scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 14 and Wednesday, Dec. 15, to be followed by selection of a firm. The three firms are GR Recruiting, Ray and Associates, and Tradition Search Partners. The board also came up with a list of questions to submit to the firms in advance and voted to approve that list.
    12/09/21 Regular Meeting
    The board president gave a brief update on progress in finding a superintendent search firm. The board received five proposals from search firms on or before Dec. 8 and will hold a Special Meeting on Dec. 10 to discuss these and select three finalists. The board will meet again on Dec. 14 to choose a firm from among these finalists and to authorize a committee of two to negotiate and sign a contract with the firm.

    11/23/21 Special Meeting
    The board heard public comment on the superintendent succession. The committee then reported on the availability and approximate costs of hiring a search firm or consultant to conduct a superintendent search. The Board discussed possible next steps and voted 4-1 to conduct a search, then 5-0 to approve a Request for Proposals (RFP) proposed by the committee. The RFP will be sent out and posted on November 24, with responses due from search firms by Dec. 8.

    The Board discussed the 2022-23 superintendent succession, including process, committee establishment, and timeline. The Board voted to schedule a special meeting for further discussion and action on superintendent succession as well as to receive a report from the designated committee of two (President Tucker and Vice President D’Souza) on superintendent search firms, if needed.
    The Board held a special meeting to discuss the status of the superintendent selection process and to hear public input.
    The Board held an executive session pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(g).
    The Board held an executive session pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(g).
    The Board held an executive session pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(g).
    The Board held an executive session pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(g) and RCW 42.30.110(1)(i).
    10/14/21: Regular Meeting
    The Board reviewed the results from the community Thought Exchange.
    The Board held an executive session pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(g).
    The Board voted to move forward immediately with a Thought Exchange seeking public input regarding the next superintendent. The language of the Thought Exchange question is attached to the meeting agenda.

    9/23/21: Special Meeting/Executive Session
    The Board held an executive session pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(g) and RCW 42.30.110(1)(i).

    The Board reviewed draft questions to ask in soliciting community input on the superintendent selection via Thought Exchange. The Board decided on a single open ended question (following the best practices recommended by Thought Exchange). This will be passed to district communications staff to implement.
    The Board held a preliminary discussion of what questions to ask in soliciting community input on the superintendent selection via Thought Exchange. The president and vice president will generate a draft for the Board to review at its next study session.

    8/26/21: Regular Meeting
    The Board approved setting up a superintendent succession communication webpage and the first set of entries for regular updates. The Board also approved using the Thought Exchange tool for gathering feedback on the next superintendent.

    8/24/21: Special Meeting/Study Session
    The Board began the work towards finding the next superintendent. The study session included a presentation by a representative from ThoughtExchange. Discussion occurred about using this tool to gather community, student and staff feedback on the next superintendent, as well as other matters affecting the District.

    8/12/21: Regular Meeting
    The Board agreed to focus on gathering community input towards the superintendent search. The Board will hold weekly study sessions on Tuesdays which will be announced on BoardDocs, under the School Board tab on the District's website. The first study session will cover the discussion management and feedback tool, ThoughtExchange. No action will be taken at study sessions. Any needed action will occur at a regular board meeting.