Nancy Coogan selected as next Tukwila school superintendent

The new superintendent of the Tukwila School District is Nancy Coogan, a Seattle Public Schools administrator, chosen unanimously by the Tukwila School Board on Saturday.

The district will now offer the positon to Coogan; still to be completed are contract negotiations and a background check.

"With great enthusiasm and complete dedication, I'm honored to accept the board's offer to join you  July 1 as superintendent of the Tukwila School District," said Coogan in a district statement.   "I will work tirelessly with staff to serve Tukwila students and families.  This is a humbling appointment, and I want to assure you that my commitment to work on your behalf is unwavering.  I look forward to meeting and working with each of you - and in the meantime send my warmest regards to all."

The board reviewed the three finalists on Saturday, before voting for Coogan. The other two finalists were interim Tukwila Superintendent Mellody Matthes and Tony Byrd, assistant superintendent of the Edmonds School District.

"Today the Tukwila School District took an exciting stride toward the future by asking Dr. Nancy Coogan to become our next superintendent," said Board President Mark Wahlstrom in a district statement.  "We were honored to have an applicant pool of strong, well-respected professionals. "

"Among them, the board felt Dr. Coogan's background and track record of achievement best suited the expectations we have set for all our diverse students, staff and community," he said.

Coogan will replace Ethelda Burke, who resigned as superintendent last summer. In December the district began the process to replace her, which included focus group meetings, interviews, and an online survey in which community, parents, staff and students helped identify the district's strengths, needs and priorities.   Those priorities became the criteria for recruiting superintendent candidates in January, February and March 2013.  

The board interviewed six semi-finalist candidates, March 22-23, and this week brought three final candidates forward, each for a full day of tours, meetings, observations and interviews.  Each candidate met community and staff members in a public forum open to all - and the board reviewed input from all district stakeholders on each of the three finalists. 

The process was guided by Dr. Janet Barry and Dr. Brian Benzel of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, Executive Search Services.

 Here is Coogan's biography, as provided by the school district:

DR. NANCY COOGAN is Executive Director of the Central Region of Seattle Public Schools.  In this role she oversees all aspects of K-12 schools, serving 10,500 students in Seattle's most impacted neighborhoods, as well as the World School for international students whose formal education has been interrupted.   She has collaborated with the school board in development of a five-year strategic plan, led efforts in Special Education compliance and provided professional development for all 93 schools. 

Dr. Coogan's background includes math, science and special education teaching at the middle level and building-level leadership in Everett and Mukilteo middle schools.   As a principal, she provided district-wide leadership in formative assessment and standards-based grading.  She taught  principalship classes for four years as an adjunct faculty member at City University.

In her community, she is a member of the Seattle University Youth Advisory Board, a trainer/facilitator  in cultural competency in school settings throughout Seattle,  and a member of the Professional Education Advisory Boards of both SPU and City University. Nancy has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY, and two master's degrees from City University -- one in Special Education and one in Educational Leadership.  Her doctorate in Educational Leadership is from Washington State University. 

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