Dr. Jeff Snell was the unanimous selection out of two finalists and will take over in July
VANCOUVER — Following a nationwide search, Vancouver Public Schools looked just a bit to the east for their next Superintendent.
Following a closed door meeting on Wednesday afternoon, the Vancouver Schools Board of Directors voted unanimously to select Dr. Jeff Snell to replace Dr. Steve Webb, who departed months earlier than planned after reaching a deal with the board that will pay him $455,000 over the next two years.
Snell, who spent 15 years as a teacher in the Vancouver School District, was a finalist along with Othello School District Superintendent Dr. Kenneth (Chris) Hurst.
“We were honored to have two highly qualified candidates who could bring so much experience and leadership to our district, knowing that no matter what decision we made, we couldn’t go wrong,” said Board President Kyle Sproul in a news release. “The first thing that strikes you when you meet Dr. Snell is his empathy for others and his passion for inclusion. When you add in his past experience in Vancouver Public Schools and his deep connection to our local community, it became clear that he was the best choice to lead our district in this next chapter.”
Snell served as deputy superintendent in Camas from 2011 until being named to lead the district in 2016. During his time there, he oversaw a number of successful efforts to pass a building bond and a number of operations and technology levies, including this past February.
Snell holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Boston University and master’s degree in educational leadership and doctorate in education from Washington State University.
He also serves on the board for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession and mentors other superintendents through the Washington Association of School Administrators.
“I am grateful for this opportunity to come back to Vancouver and serve the students, staff, and community,” said Dr. Snell. “I am really excited about our future as we continue to build a welcoming community that brings out the best in our students and each of us! I look forward to listening and learning through the transition process and really appreciate the school board’s trust.”
A total of 34 applications were received as part of the VPS superintendent search, which was headed by outside recruiting firm McPherson & Jacobson starting last November.
Board members considered 10 candidates before selecting four semifinalists. Community members had the opportunity to learn about the candidates in a webinar and provide feedback to the board through a survey. The semifinalists also discussed their qualifications online with key stakeholders invited by the board. With this feedback and subsequent virtual interviews, board members narrowed the candidates to two finalists. In-person interviews with the finalists were held March 2 and 3.
Pending contract negotiations, Snell’s first official day as head of Vancouver Public Schools would be July 1.