April 27, 2022 — The Mapleton School District Board of Directors met for their regular monthly meeting on April 20. The meeting was also livestreamed.
With current superintendent Jodi O’Mara retiring after this school year, the district has been engaged in a search for a new superintendent. The most significant order of business was when the board decided to begin contract negotiations for their choice for O’Mara’s replacement.
The board unanimously voted to offer the job to Sue Wilson.
Board Chair Mary Ellen Mansfield explained the process that was undertaken to get to Wilson as their choice.
“First we began with seven candidates,” she said. “In March, we narrowed it down to three people. The board then interviewed the three candidates. After that, we invited back two of the candidates for a second interview with the board and an interview with community stakeholders, such as parents, staff and students.”
Before the board proceeded to the next round of interviews, one of the two remaining candidates asked to be removed from consideration for personal reasons — leaving Wilson as the remaining candidate.
“So, with one candidate left, the board decided that we and the community had enough questions that we really wanted to dive deeper,” continued Board member Andrea Milbrett. “Sue had an interesting proposal and we had lots of questions. Her proposal was big on partnership with Lane ESD and other partnerships, and we wanted to understand what that would mean in a ‘boots on the ground’ sense.”
The board decided to invite Wilson to give them a presentation.
“[The presentation] ended up taking over two and a half hours because we had so many questions,” said Mansfield. “We really did a deep dive into what her vision was for Mapleton. We felt at the end of her presentation that ‘this can work.’”
Feedback from stakeholders reflected that of the board.
“They had similar concerns, but they also saw her great vision and other really positive good stuff,” Mansfield added.
After those interviews and meetings, the board checked references and decided to offer Wilson the superintendent job and begin negotiations.
O’Mara is excited about what she has seen in her probable successor.
“I’m excited the direction the district will be going under her leadership, very excited,” she said.
Wilson comes to Mapleton with 12 years of teaching experience and plenty of additional qualifications that helped the board to make their decision. She is currently employed at the Lane Educational Service District, where she is the director of student success.
According to Mansfield, Wilson is familiar with Mapleton due to her work on the community engagement pieces required for funding under the Student Success Act. She has also worked for Eugene School District 4J and the Oregon Department of Education.
Wilson was a math and science teacher for 12 years in Arizona before she came to Oregon.
In other business during the school board meeting, the directors accepted the resignation of Sean O’Mara at the end of this school year. Sean teaches language arts, social studies and College Credit Western Civilizations and has only been with the district since the beginning of this school year.
Additionally, the meeting began with an executive session. After the closed session ended, a vote was taken to “consider dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent who does not request an open hearing.”
The board voted 3-1 in favor. Directors Mansfield, Mizu Burruss and Michelle Holman voted yes. Milbrett voted no. Director Maree Beers was absent for the meeting.
The matter was a private one, as it appeared the party in question had requested a closed hearing.
“I can’t really say much, except we discussed the matter that led to the vote; and it was hard,” Mansfield said after the meeting.
Those that wish to view the meeting, in its entirety, can do so at youtu.be/0XCZ-EsDqlk.
The Mapleton School District Board of Directors meets monthly on the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is May 18 at 6 p.m.
For additional information, go to www.mapleton.k12.or.us.