Fife School Board named an interim superintendent at a special board meeting on Sept. 22. Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Kevin Alfano will now lead the district for the time being, as preparations are made to install a permanent superintendent as soon as possible.
At the special board meeting, community members, parents and staff gave their input, and Board President Bob Scheidt said the message was clear to make the superintendent search an open and transparent process, and that’s just what the board and district will do.
“The school board really takes this process of hiring a new superintendent very seriously,” he said. “We, like the community, want to make sure we have the right person to lead the district. We all want the best for the students and community.”
Once the position is posted as being open, Scheidt said a committee of community members and school district employees will be assembled to review resumes and interview prospective candidates then make recommendations to the board, which will make the final decision.
In the meantime, Alfano said he is “honored” to be named interim superintendent and would be just as honored were he chosen for the permanent position. “As the interim, I just want to do what’s right for the district and that’s moving us forward in the direction we’ve already set for the school year – nothing more, nothing less. The future will take care of itself as the process plays out and the board makes final decisions. I never want it to be about me; I want it to be what we do here as a team.”
Naming Alfano interim superintendent was the most logical course to take at this time, as he and Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education Ben Ramirez have together been taking on the duties of former Superintendent John McCrossin after he revealed his cancer diagnosis months ago and then subsequently passed away on Aug. 26.
“Between Ben and me, we were picking up whatever came up that wasn’t typically under our umbrella, so we’re just carrying that forward,” Alfano said. “And it’s not just Ben and me – all the folks here have chipped in. This (administration) building is about support of the school buildings so we do whatever needs to happen.”
“As (McCrossin) was getting more ill, it was a natural thing for Kevin to step up. He’s done a great job,” Scheidt said. “Kevin has demonstrated in this past year that he is capable of running the district so to put him as interim, the board has full confidence in him.”
In addition, Alfano comes with 17 years of experience in Fife Schools, first as a teacher, then assistant principal/dean of students, then principal and finally assistant superintendent with Ramirez, two positions McCrossin created when he became superintendent last year.
“I’ve been fortunate to see education in Fife from many different levels and insights,” Alfano said. “I’m glad I’ve had experiences in Fife as a teacher, assistant principal, as a principal and assistant superintendent. I’ve taken a lot from each of those and built them into this moment now. It gives me the perspective from inside the district.”
Alfano earned his Masters in school administration from Seattle University during the 2012-2013 school year, while he was principal at Endeavour Intermediate School, and completed a full-year internship with then-superintendent Steve McCammon. Between McCammon and McCrossin, Alfano said he represents a meld of the two when it comes to styles of school leadership.
“As I build my vision of what this district could look like, it’s a combination of our leadership over the last 15 years. I value (McCammon’s) core beliefs in education…being designers of engaging work and promoting innovation and thinking outside the box in the classroom. And I also value (McCrossin’s) black-and-white approach, bringing in the onus of instructional leadership in the classroom, so not just being designers of engaging work but what is the teacher doing in that?”
Alfano said that one of the most important things McCrossin did before becoming ill was to set up a clear and solid plan for the current school year and going into the future. This set things up well when it came time for Alfano and Ramirez to step in and keep the momentum going in McCrossin’s absence, and Alfano said that’s the structure the district will continue with as a permanent superintendent is found.
“John left us with a good vision for the year, good direction…we have that moving forward and now it’s a matter of supporting that.”