Superintendent: Harney School District, Burns Oregon


Notice of Open Administrative Position

Position: Superintendent

Filing Deadline:     March 25, 2016; however, the district retains the option of accepting applications until the position is filled.

About the Position

The Harney SD #3 Board of Directors is seeking a superintendent to replace departing Superintendent Marilyn McBride after her five year tenure.
This is an excellent leadership opportunity for the candidate that understands the joys and challenges of a rural district.  The board of directors is seeking an educational leader who has the ability to bring together staff, parents and the community for the advancement of all students.   An experienced leader who can build a new administrative team and point the way toward a positive, collaboratively future is desired.  The board seeks candidates who can support the learning of students, be open, honest, and supportive of teachers and can communicate a compelling vision for the district and its role in the community.

Michael Lasher
Northwest Leadership Associates

About The District

Harney SD #3 serves approximately 900 students from Burns and the surrounding area.  This beautiful district in the High Desert of Southeastern Oregon has a committed and engaged board of directors and staff who desire an equally committed individual to lead the district.  One who will reflect and amplify the pride the community feels for the district.   

The district consists of one elementary, middle school, high school and a corrections education program.  The community supports the district both financially and with their volunteerism.  Every child in the district is known and considered the collective responsibility of not only the school and district, but also embraced by the larger community.  

Harney SD #3 has a strong history of academic and athletic performance and is the recipient of a $300,000 CTE grant.  The district has won many state championships over the last decade including the Oregon Cup twice.  This year district’s Volleyball Coach and Athletic Director was awarded National Coach of the Year.  The FFA program is also robust.

The new Superintendent will have an opportunity to hire new administrators at the high school and middle school.  The district is financial stable and wants to stay that way.  Harney SD #3 exists within a tightly knit community that values hard work, honest opinions and rural living.

About the Community

The occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge by outsiders was a difficult and trying time for the people of Burns.   Potential candidates must understand that the events of this winter were not initiated locally; however, it created divisions in the community that need to heal.  Schools and children are a natural adhesive that binds everyone together in a small town.  A leader who can model excellent communication and team building will be esteemed for those skills.   

Harney SD #3 serves the biggest city ( pop. 7500) in the largest county (10,000 sq. miles) in Oregon.  Harney County is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds.  The Steens Mountain Wilderness Area and the world famous Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are just two examples of the many places to encounter wildlife, amazing vistas and nature’s beauty.   Harney County offers many cultural opportunities from the Chamber Music Society to the Coyote Cinema Club featuring foreign and independent films.   The Burns Paiute tribe hosts an annual Pow-Wow and, of course, the county fair and rodeo are annual events.   Burns is widely recognized as a wonderful place to raise a family.   A place where children are respectful and the townspeople look out for one another and particularly for those in need.

For more information:


The Board is interested in someone who is willing to commit to the district for a number of years and will consider a multi-year contract with salary range of $105 - $115,000 based on the candidate's experience and abilities.

The Board

Lori Cheek, Chair
Doug Gunderson
Ralph Dickenson
Lisa King
Julie Burri

Challenges and opportunities

  • Articulating an overarching vision for the Harney SD #3 that can be embraced and supported by the staff and community
  • Bringing staff from all schools and the community together to support all children’s education
  • Continuing to improve the financial health of the district
  • Promoting a culture among staff and students that delivers on academic improvement and opportunities for all children.

Desired Qualities and Characteristics

The Board of Directors, staff and community are seeking candidates with the following qualities and characteristics:

  • An understanding of  isolated, rural communities
  • Familiarity with developing and maintain relationships with Native American constituents
  • Strong communication skills with a desire to share openly with staff, parents, and the community
  • Celebrates success and recognizes achievement
  • An open, collaborative leadership style, but with a wiliness to make difficult decisions when necessary
  • Demonstrates a passion and ability to address instructional excellence, student achievement and placing students first in all decisions
  • Sound financial management skills with the ability to effectively communicate fiscal issues to the board, staff, and community
  • Fosters a culture that expects the best of both students and staff
  • Exhibits a strong interest in students and student activities
  • Maintain a high degree of visibility within the community and schools to include active participation and involvement in school and community activities
  • Possess experience as teacher, principal and superintendent

Application Procedures and Timeline

Applications are due March 25, 2016; however, the district retains the option of accepting applications until the position is filled.
Those interested in pursuing this position are urged to contact Northwest Leadership Associates through Michael Lasher at 541-969-6024 or at

A completed application packet should include:

  • A completed application form available from Northwest Leadership Associates (contact information below.)
  • A letter of interest in the position
  • A statement explaining how the candidate’s experience and training prepares him/her to address the challenges outlined in this posting (maximum of one page per challenge)
  • A resume including information about potential references
  • Four letters of recommendation

All Application Materials Should Be Sent to:

Michael Lasher
Northwest Leadership Associates
24 N.W. Mountainview Dr.
Roseburg, OR 97471