Superintendent Search

Meet Our Next Superintendent, Mark Davidson

Mark Davidson will be the next superintendent of Richland School District.

The Richland School Board voted to hire Davidson, currently superintendent/CEO of Medicine Hat Public School Division in Alberta, Canada, during a special meeting on Saturday, March 28. He will start this summer after Dr. Rick Schulte, RSD’s superintendent since 2013, retires.

“Mark’s deep experience as an educator, his record of problem-solving and collaboration and his compassion for all kids will make him an excellent leader for our schools,” says Board President Rick Jansons. “We are eager for him to join our community and lead our district.”

Read The Full Announcement

We are looking for a leader for our growing schools who will support diverse student needs and a tradition of providing more than a basic education.

The Richland School Board has initiated a search for the district's next superintendent. Superintendent Dr. Rick Schulte will retire from the district on June 30, 2020 and the Board is committed to finding a superintendent who will connect with the community and help its schools and students be successful.

The Board is committed to an open, transparent and collaborative process and all community members in the Richland School District are invited to participate in this effort to find the next leader of our schools.

Superintendent Search Updates


March 24, 2020

The Board has been notified that one of the superintendent finalists, Dr. Jon Holmen, has accepted the superintendent position in the Lake Washington School District.  The Board has chosen to maintain virtual meetings with the remaining finalists between district staff and the community for March 24-26.

March 12, 2020

The Richland School Board selected four finalists for the district’s superintendent position.

The finalists are:

  • Dr. Alexa Cunningham, currently superintendent of Salt Lake City School District in Utah where she has been since 2016. Her educational career spans nearly 30 years, starting as a classroom teacher. She spent most of her career in Arizona schools as a teacher, principal, senior district and state-level administrator.
     
  • Mark Davidson, who has been superintendent/CEO of Medicine Hat School Division in Alberta, Canada since 2016. He has worked in education since 1992, starting as a middle school teacher before becoming a school administrator followed by district- and province-level posts. He also has served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 13 years.
     
  • Dr. Carole Meyer, deputy superintendent of Moses Lake School District, a position she has held since 2017. She has spent the bulk of her nearly 30-year career in Spokane schools, where she taught as a special education teacher and served as a principal at several schools.
     
  • Dr. Jon Holmen, who has been deputy superintendent of Lake Washington School District outside Seattle since 2017. He has spent his entire career in Lake Washington schools, starting as a student teacher in 1998. After several years in the classroom, he serving as a principal before entering district administration where he worked in special education and staff and student support.

The Board received several dozen applications from regional, in-state and out-of-state candidates. Board members conducted first-round interviews with six candidates on March 6. The Board will next conduct background and reference checks and discussions with colleagues of the finalists in their current district.

Online community meetings with the finalists will be from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 24-27 via Charter channel 192, the City of Richland's YouTube channel and the district website.

March 10, 2020

The Richland School Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. on March 12 to discuss candidates for the district’s superintendent position and select which to move to the next level of the selection process.

The meeting will be called to order in public session with the Board immediately going into executive session to discuss the candidates. Any decision on which candidates will receive further consideration will be made in public.

Applications came from regional, in-state and out-of-state candidates. Board members conducted first-round interviews with selected candidates on March 6.

Any candidate selected to continue in the process will be subject to full background and visits by board members and district representatives to their current districts. There will also be opportunities for district staff and community members to meet them and learn more about them.

Jan. 28, 2020

Consultant Hank Harris presented a report to the Richland School Board on desired characteristics for the district's next superintendent based on focus group meetings with students, staff, parents and community members and responses to an online survey. The Board approved the list with some changes.

View Desired Superintendent Characteristics

Dec. 16, 2019

Parents, staff, students and community members are invited to attend focus group meetings on Jan. 7 & 8 to share what qualities and characteristics they want to see in the district's next superintendent.

View Full Meeting Schedule

Dec. 10, 2019

The Richland School Board finalized the calendar for conducting the search for the district's next superintendent, including determining opportunities for public participation in the process. 

View Board Update & Calendar

Nov. 12, 2019 

During a regular Board meeting on Nov. 12, board members agreed to hold a public meeting with Mr. Harris to discuss the superintendent search process and what the Board is looking for in a candidate in order to meet the Board’s timeline to have a new superintendent hired in March or April while giving ample opportunity for the public to be part of the search process. The meeting will be on Nov. 22 in Bellevue while board members attend meetings of the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA).

Oct. 25, 2019

On Oct. 22, Richland School Board members interviewed representatives of three consultant firms who replied to the board’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a superintendent search consultant services — Ray and Associates, Inc.; Human Capital Enterprises; and Northwest Leadership Associates.

The Board set a special board meeting for Friday, Oct. 25 to ensure each board member could participate in making a decision with the same information. At the special meeting, the Board voted 3-1 to select Hank Harris of Human Capital Enterprises to provide superintendent search consultant services. Board member Jill Oldson was the lone dissenting vote but said she supports the Board’s decision.

Sept. 11, 2019

The district has released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for executive search consultants interested in assisting in identifying the successor to Superintendent Dr. Rick Schulte. Dr. Schulte will retire from the district on June 30, 2020.

Search consultants have until Oct. 4 to submit their proposals to the Board. Board members are seeking a consultant with the capability, experience, and interest in finding a superintendent candidate capable of leading a district with more than 14,000 students in kindergarten through Grade 12 across 19 schools. The Board anticipates selecting the winning consultant by the end of October 2019. 

View Request For Qualifications

Questions On The Superintendent Search Process

Search Timeline

  • September 2019
    • Develop & Publish Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for search firms
    • Publicize search process 
    • Develop application for Community Search Committee
  • October 2019
    • Search firms submit bids for RFQ
    • Community members submit applications for search committee
    • Evaluation of RFQ bids and selection of search firm
  • November 2019
    • Evaluation of search committee applications and appointment of committee members
  • December 2019
    • Begin superintendent search process and search committee meetings
  • January 2020
    • Jan. 7 & 8: Community and Staff Focus Meetings on superintendent candidate qualities
    • Jan. 6-17: Online survey on superintendent candidate qualities
  • February 2020
    • Feb. 17-20: Preliminary candidate interviews with consultant
    • Feb. 25: Determination of format on finalist interviews
  • March 2020
    • March 6: First round interviews with Board
    • March 9-23: Candidate background checks and site visits
    • March 24-26: Finalist interviews with Board and public forums
    • Last week of March: Board decision and public announcement of next superintendent