Reynolds picks 2 from Oregon as finalists
04/04/03MELISSA L. JONES
FAIRVIEW -- Two Oregon administrators are finalists for the superintendent's job in the Reynolds School District.
They are Randy Harvey, Tigard-Tualatin schools director of human resources, and Terry Kneisler, Philomath School District superintendent.
School board members have spent the past month scrutinizing the resumes and references of six semifinalists.
The district started with 24 applicants. Two internal candidates, Reynolds High Principal Steve Olczak, and Reynolds director of curriculum Ed Smith, did not make the final cut.
Harvey, 49, has overseen the human resources department at Tigard-Tualatin since 1999. The district is slightly larger than Reynolds, with 12,000 students and 15 schools. He also runs Randy Harvey Inc., a labor consultant and private investigator business.
Harvey worked in personnel at the Springfield School District from 1995-99 and was a middle school principal for the Bethel School District in Eugene from 1986-95. He was an elementary school principal and special education director at the McKenzie School District in Finn Rock from 1982-86.
Kneisler, 54, has been a superintendent for the past 24 years, serving in Philomath since 1996. Prior to working in Philomath, he traveled the country as the National Education and Schools Coordinator for the Bahai faith. He was also superintendent in the Sebastopol and Healdsburg school districts in California's Sonoma County.
Harvey, who lives in Sherwood, has three children. Two daughters are in college, and a son attends Sherwood High School. His wife graduated from Reynolds High in 1973.
Both men have doctoral degrees.
Harvey said he has always told himself he never wanted to be a superintendent, but is ready for the challenge.
"Pretty much I supervise about two-thirds of the district now," said Harvey, who manages the operations department and oversees two high schools in addition to human resources.
Harvey said communication is one of his priorities.
"Reynolds has four cities that it touches. That's a challenge. You can't go down to the barbershop downtown and talk to people," he said.
Reynolds is attractive to him, he said, because the district is "light years ahead" of the state with curriculum and emphasis on the Certificate for Advanced Mastery.
Harvey said he applied for the Oregon City superintendent's job last year and is in the running for the Woodburn superintendent post.
Kneisler, who lives on 9 acres in Philomath, has three daughters; two have graduated from college, and one attends the University of Oregon.
The Philomath School District has fewer than 2,000 students -- much smaller than Reynolds -- but Kneisler said that experience is beneficial.
"When you're a superintendent in a small district, you have your fingers in more pies. You get a lot of experience," he said. "The biggest challenge will be I'll want to have to see everything. I'll want to be in every school every week, and that's not going to happen."
Kneisler said Reynolds' diversity attracted him.
"I grew up in Chicago. Diversity is a great benefit," he said.
Kneisler said community relations is his strength. He was running the district last year when the Clemens Foundation decided to stop offering automatic scholarships to graduates of Philomath High School in a feud over what the foundation said was the district's lack of respect for the town's timber heritage.
While at Philomath, he wrote a grant that yielded $300,000 for a parenting program to help local families. He's also proud of the district's partnerships between 60 high school students and local businesses.
Kneisler declined to say if he had applied for other superintendent jobs.
Reynolds will hold community meetings with the two candidates in coming weeks. Kneisler will meet the community April 14; Harvey will be available April 18. The time and location have not been determined.
The candidate will replace Hud Lasher, who is retiring in June after 17 years as Reynolds superintendent. Melissa Jones: 503-294-5938; email@example.com
©Copyright 2003, The Oregonian (OR, USA)
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