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McLean named interim superintendent of Federal Way school district

The Federal Way Public Schools board of directors selected Sally McLean, assistant superintendent of business services, as interim superintendent on Tuesday. - Courtesy Federal Way Public Schools
The Federal Way Public Schools board of directors selected Sally McLean, assistant superintendent of business services, as interim superintendent on Tuesday.
— image credit: Courtesy Federal Way Public Schools

The Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) board of directors selected Sally McLean, assistant superintendent of business services, as interim superintendent in a 4-0 vote during the board’s meeting on Tuesday.

McLean’s contract as superintendent began immediately and is set to run through June 2015. FWPS board president Carol Gregory explained the board’s reasoning for selecting McLean as the interim superintendent, saying that the time for finding and hiring a new superintendent isn’t right now.

“In looking at the transition, and the leadership of this district, one of the things we know is that when you’re hiring superintendents, the critical time to be out looking is in the winter,” Gregory said. “Because by now, most people have been hired. And so we looked at that question and thought, ‘Well, we could look for someone who’s been a superintendent who could come in and be an interim.’”

Gregory said board members heard internal outpouring of support for McLean to fill the spot that former Superintendent Rob Neu vacated.

“But then we looked inside and we began to get a lot of comments and contacts from all over the district, and so we made the decision to offer a contract to … Sally McLean, to be our superintendent between now and June 2015,” Gregory said. “We will then have a national search next winter, where we will engage a lot of people in determining who the next permanent superintendent will be.”

Board member Claire Wilson echoed Gregory’s comments, saying that the internal support for McLean to fill Neu’s shoes for the time being was overwhelming.

“Like Carol said, never have we had more pings in our email from people not only wanting to put people out there, but were worried we would do anything different from that,” she said. “I think not only we as a board are 150 percent behind you, but I could say that probably 99.999 percent of the employees in this district have that faith in you and in you as a leader.”

“There’s complete confidence that you’re going to take this on and do a fantastic job,” board member Danny Peterson added.

McLean said she was happy to take the job, and expressed her gratitude at the outpouring of support and faith in her.

“I am both honored by the trust and confidence that Superintendent Neu and the board have expressed in my leadership abilities, and I am humbled by the expressions of respect and support as I begin this journey as the interim superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools,” she said.

FWPS provided The Mirror with the contract for McLean’s interim superintendent position. According to the contract, McLean’s annual salary is slated to be $205,000 (benefits and other perks not included).

In her current position, McLean makes $134,268 as a base salary, which ratcheted up to approximately $144,000 with other benefits factored in. The district notes that the $160,000 figure cited in the interim superintendent contract was placed there under the assumption that McLean would have been a full deputy superintendent for the district by the time the offer was made to make her interim superintendent. The district notes that her interim compensation is “$28,567 lower than midpoint for superintendent compensation packages for all districts in the state with 20,000 students or more.”

McLean has been with the district for nearly 14 years, overseeing the district’s finances for much of that time. Both board members and district administrators have credited her for guiding “the district through the difficult financial terrain of the past dozen years as the district endured $30 million in financial reductions from the state.”

Along with this, McLean has been able to save taxpayers more than $11 million, thanks to her management of the district’s bond sales and refunds. This has allowed the district to maintain a stable credit rating, and also earn clean audits from the state for 11 years and counting.

According to the district, McLean received degrees in Decision Sciences (statistical analysis) and Human Resource Management from the University of Oregon. She also attended the Harvard Institute of Educational Leadership.

 

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