School board selects new superintendent

The new superintendent will start his time at the Tahoma School District this summer.

After long and thought out consideration, the Tahoma School Board voted 5-0 on May 22 to offer Tony Giurado a contract to be the next superintendent for the school district, replacing the retiring Rob Morrow.

Giurado is from Colorado and has been the Chief Academic Officer of the Mesa County Valley School District in Grand Junction, Colorado since 2014.

Morrow is set to retire on June 30 at the end of the school year.

On Monday, the board spent the day learning more about the two finalists for the position — Giurado and Doug Hostetter — during a series of meetings that included a public forum in the Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center, a press release from the district said.

“The whole process was rigorous,” board member Val Paganelli said in the press release. “We invited two candidates who prompted us to think hard.”

There were 33 candidates that applied for the position and the board was able to narrow it down to six people by May 19. After that, the board chose to decide between Giurado and Hostetter.

“The two finalists toured the school district Monday morning, each accompanied by two school board members. They then spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon with two interview panels — Panel One included community members, teachers, staff, parents, students, community leaders and school board members. Panel Two was comprised of school principals, board members and administrators. The two panels made notes of their impressions and presented them to the school board Monday afternoon,” the press release stated.

According to Giurado, he decided to apply for the job of superintendent for the Tahoma School District because of “It’s reputation for having a tremendous community, excellent schools and its commitment to the Future Ready Vision.”

During the first panel of meetings, the release said about 60 community members came to the special meeting. The board encouraged community members to “jot down” comments and leave them with the school board to be included in their final decision making process.

In that meeting, an interesting fact about Giurado came up that really intrigued the board, according to the board president Mary Jane Glaser.

“A key component that came up in our public forum on Monday night was his experience with school safety. What we did not know in advance is that he was an assistant principal in the school district that contained Columbine and so his experience with that tragedy and being involved in a system that had to address school safety was a factor that caused us to feel that he would be able to lead us in our continuing measures to build a system of school safety in Tahoma,” Glaser said.

Giurado’s work experience with other schools in Colorado was also a plus for him.

Along with being the Chief Academic Officer of the Mesa County Valley School District in Colorado, he was also executive director of school effectiveness, community superintendent and executive director of School Management for Jeffco Public Schools in Golden, Colorado from 2006 to 2014, according to the Tahoma School District’s website. It also said he got his start in education as an elementary school teacher in 1991, and then moved up to assistant principal and then to principal.

Glaser said his experience and knowledge are other aspects that the board really liked about him including his core values — students are first and foremost, parents and community are heard and educators are honored.

“He sees as part of the collaboration and partnerships, he sees that Tahoma is our district and our success is interdependent so he has a team dedication to fostering success for everyone,” she said. “One of the things that we particularly thought resonated with us was his belief that there must be a balance between excellence and harmony, and that was an intriguing thought because while we have high demands and want we want high support from the leaders, they need to make sure that our system is well supported to handle the stresses that are put on it.”

She also said he is “concerned about the social and emotional health” of the students in the district.

“Ultimately, we want our students to be able to follow their passions and dreams. To make this happen, my priority as superintendent will be to ensure that students are at the center of all that we do,” Giurado said. “This starts with every Tahoma student having a highly effective teacher and building support staff who care about them, believe in them, and inspire them.

Giurado’s official start date is still pending because his contract has not been finalized yet, according to Glaser. But since Morrow’s last day in June 30, it is assumed he will start July 1.

He said he and his family are looking forward to moving to Maple Valley and to have his son start school at Tahoma High School.

“I am excited to move our family to Maple Valley as soon as possible. We are looking forward to meeting everyone while we are hiking the trails, kayaking on the lakes, and enjoying community events. My door is open, and I am looking forward to getting to know everyone,” he said.