Denise Juneau is poised to become the next superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, after the school board voted Wednesday night to enter contract negotiations with the former Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Juneau was one of three finalists from a pool of 66 applicants, along with Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Kerr Swift and Andre Spencer, superintendent of the Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs, Colorado. That trio was in Seattle last week to visit schools, participate in a public forum and interview with the board.
"The work that we do is based on trust," said School Board director Rick Burke. "And what I heard from so many people was that Ms. Juneau is already coming in with a high level of trust."
Juneau comes to the role having managed a $1 billion budget over 450 schools and more than 150,000 students during her tenure in Montana, before facing now-Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke for the state's lone House seat in 2016.
"We're looking for a leader for the next 10 years to leverage off a foundation that has been built by extraordinarily talented, valuable staff and community, community partners, our PTSA, and our Seattle way," said School Board president Leslie Harris. "We may talk things into the ground in this city, but we are capable of extraordinary things, and it is our job to deliver and it is the job of the next superintendent to help us get there."
The negotiated contract is expected to come before the board at its April 25 meeting.