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WSD Superintendent Jeff Stephens announces retirement

By Harrison Epstein - | Dec 2, 2021

Harrison Epstein, Standard-Examiner

From left, Weber School District Superintendent Jeff Stephens and Weber School Board President Jon Ritchie listen to a speaker presenting the district's options for a bond measure at the Weber School District Administration Office on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021.

PLEASANT VIEW — For the first time in a decade, there will be a new leader for the Weber School District.

At the district’s board of education meeting Wednesday, Superintendent Jeff Stephens announced he will retire at the end of the school year.

Late Wednesday, Stephens notified his colleagues in the district with an email. “Serving as superintendent these past eleven years has been the highlight of my professional career. I value the friendships that I have formed during my 36-years in Weber School District. The teachers, support professionals and administrators in our district are the most dedicated, caring educators anywhere! It has been my highest honor to serve alongside you,” it read.

The decision comes after a whirlwind fall for Stephens and the district. In September, Stephens was honored as the Utah Superintendent of the Year for the first time in his career. In November, voters passed a bond measure to build several new schools.

In his email, Stephens noted that he announced his decision now to “give our board sufficient notice so they have time to conduct a comprehensive search for the next superintendent.”

Stephens started his career in WSD in 1984 as an English teacher at Wahlquist Junior High School. Since then, he has worked in multiple positions across the district, earned his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Utah State University while working and eventually was named the superintendent in 2011.

“I’ve tried to stay focused on taking care of children and doing the right things and blocking out some of the noise and trying to help take the pressure of off others, whether it’s our school board or our principals, so that they’re not distracted by some of the other kinds of issues that could arise,” Stephens said in November. “Maybe it’s an affirmation we’re doing things the right way.”

As for replacing Stephens, the district has every step laid out, according to district spokesperson Lane Findlay. First, he said, there will be a survey sent to parents and employees on Monday. The survey will gauge the public’s interest in different facets of the job, what they find most important in a new hire and what their expectations will be moving forward. The survey will be posted online and will be open until approximately Dec. 15.

According to Findlay, a special board meeting will then be held Dec. 17 to go over the results of the survey and write the job announcement. The application process will begin Jan. 3, 2022, will be open until Feb. 4 and be coordinated with the Utah School Board Association. The search will be open to candidates nationwide. A citizen’s committee, comprised of four members picked by each member of the school board, will be created to discuss the candidates.

Board members are then planning to discuss at the Feb. 15 meeting which of the candidates — it’s expected there will be three to five of them — will be interviewed. Then will come the formal interview process and the next superintendent should be announced at the March 2 board meeting, Findlay said.

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