Principal Roley to take top Seaside schools post

Sheila Roley

SEASIDE — Sheila Roley is the new Seaside School District superintendent.

Although the deadline to receive applications from potential candidates was Friday, the Seaside School Board unanimously approved Roley’s appointment at a board meeting Tuesday night.

Roley will begin her new job July 1, following the retirement of Superintendent Doug Dougherty. A salary hasn’t been determined, but the job description calls for a range of $118,000 to $128,000.

“The qualifications for the superintendent fit Sheila to a T,” said board member Tom Maltman, who noted that 125 community members had told the school board what they wanted in a district superintendent.

“There was a definite concern by teachers, students and the community about a superintendent who would not know the district. This made sense to me.”

Roley, 64, has been with the district for 26 years, eight as a teacher and 18 as a principal of Cannon Beach Elementary, Broadway Middle and Seaside High schools. She recently announced her retirement as Seaside High principal, effective June 30.

But last Thursday, Roley contacted school board Chairman Steve Phillips and told him she had “re-evaluated her retirement and put her hat in the ring for Doug’s job,” Phillips said.

Phillips said his first reaction to Roley’s application was excitement about the “opportunity” her experience presented to the district.

“But I was genuinely concerned that we had started a process (to search for candidates) and what it would look like to the community,” he said. He also wondered why she hadn’t applied sooner.

Phillips decided to put the board members in two groups to interview Roley. By having the groups meet separately, they wouldn’t have a quorum and would be complying with Oregon’s open meeting laws.

The process was similar to the way the board had interviewed Dougherty when he was appointed superintendent after serving as a principal, Phillips said.

The two groups had not discussed the interviews until Tuesday’s board meeting, he said.

“My decision was to put this on the agenda,” he said. “I don’t want to waste the district’s money to continue the search and the stakeholders’ time.”

Board member Lynn Ulbricht noted that Seaside Heights Elementary School Principal Sande Brown also planned to retire June 30 and that Roley would provide continuity in the district.

“We wouldn’t have the angst of a new superintendent and new principal,” Ulbricht said.

Initially, he was “taken aback” by Roley’s 11th-hour application, said board member Patrick Nofield, but he said he realized how many qualifications she met. He, too, said she would bring continuity to the district’s operations.

Brian Taylor, another board member, worried that Roley would miss working with students. Then he realized that she would continue to be working with students — just on another level.

“I trust her with the reins,” Taylor said.

Following the board’s vote, Roley said she was speechless.

She told the board that, for her, the decision to seek the superintendent’s job wasn’t sudden.

“I realized I didn’t need to stop serving students, but I needed a change in the way I did it.”

The district is “growing a new generation of leaders. What an honor to serve them,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed.”

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