Southside School Board Names New Superintendent

The Southside School District Board of Directors began an executive search in December to find a successor to replace Superintendent Doris Bolender who will retire at the end of June after nine years of dedicated service.

The search attracted highly qualified applicants and, after screening and interviews, the Board voted at a special meeting on February 25, 2021 to offer the position to Paul Wieneke, an educational leadership consultant and experienced school leader, pending mutual agreement on an employment contract.

Mr. Wieneke brings a broad range of training and experience to Southside, including Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as well as specific training in public school administration. He has professional certification in Washington as teacher, principal, and superintendent. He served for 20 years as an elementary teacher and paraeducator in both urban and rural settings before beginning his administrative career which included 12 years of successful service as an elementary principal in Alaska and Washington (Tacoma).

He brings an impressive list of educational expertise including certification as a principal mentor and formal training in multiple instructional frameworks, social-emotional learning, culturally responsive teaching, and accelerated math and reading program design.  Mr. Wieneke has trained thousands of Washington teachers and administrators in the Collective Efficacy of Beliefs and Best Practices.  Throughout the interview process, he shared his core belief that, “All students are capable of success, no exceptions.”

Mr. Wieneke brings his talent as an accomplished musician, singer and performer of elementary children’s songs, and is also functionally fluent and bi-literate in Spanish. 

While Mr. Wieneke’s first official day on the job will be July 1st, he looks forward to engaging in transition activities later this spring.  He is excited about this opportunity and shared that he has, “…come to learn that Southside is a unique, caring, family-oriented community.  I believe it is important that a leader models methods of engagement with stakeholders that foster mutual trust.”

The Southside School Board welcomes Mr. Wieneke and thanks the many staff and community members who actively engaged in the screening and selection process.

Southside School District Announces Three Finalists for Superintendent 

February 17, 2021

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, The Southside School Board reviewed applications received from candidates to replace outgoing superintendent, Doris Bolender, who has announced her retirement effective June 30, 2021. The Board also reviewed application screening information prepared by a committee of staff and community members.  The Board selected three finalists and will introduce them in a series of virtual community forums beginning February 23rd.

The finalists are as follows:

Joseph Beckford; Former Superintendent/Principal; Aleutian Region School District, Anchorage , AK

Scot Embrey;  Educational Consultant; Former Elem. & MS Principal; Yelm Community Schools

Paul Wieneke, Leadership Consultant and Instructional Coach; Former Exec. Dir. of HR; Sequim SD

Virtual Community Forums will be held on the following dates and times:

Tuesday, February 23, 2021; 7:15 p.m.; Candidate: Paul Wieneke

Zoom Link:

Wednesday, February 24, 2021; 7:00 p.m.; Candidate: Scot Embrey

Zoom Link:

Thursday, February 25, 2021; 7:00 p.m.; Candidate: Joseph Beckford

Zoom Link:

 The district will provide forum participants the opportunity to provide written input to the Board regarding each of the finalists during each forum.

The Southside School Board plans to make a decision on the new superintendent the evening of February 25th, but that date could change.

About The Candidates:

Paul Wieneke has served as a leadership consultant and instructional coach since 2017 supporting 18 school districts and over 30 schools.  He served as Executive Director of Human Resources for the Sequim School District and has 12 years of experience as an elementary principal in both Alaska and Washington (Tacoma SD).

Scot Embrey currently serves as an educational consultant providing school and district level support for effective academic and social/emotional learning systems.  He has 13 years of principal experience in the Yelm Community Schools at both the elementary and middle school levels.

Joseph Beckford has over 30 years of experience as a principal, business official and superintendent in Alaska, Arizona, California and Washington (Spokane, WA).  His leadership experience in Alaska includes multiple small districts where he served in combined Superintendent/Principal roles beginning in the early 1990’s.  


Superintendent Interviews – 
On February 16th, the Southside School Board, with input from a panel of screeners representing staff, parents and the community, will review applicants for the superintendent vacancy and plans to select and name up to three finalists who will visit the school and be interviewed on February 23rd, 24th, and 25th.
Each finalist visit will conclude the interviews with a virtual community forum where candidates will introduce themselves and respond to selected questions submitted by parents, staff and community members.  Questions will be selected based upon topics or themes that emerge among the questions submitted.
The district will be posting links to view each virtual forum on the district website and invites anyone interested in submitting candidate questions to do so online by Thursday, February 19th by clicking this link:
The School Board also thanks the staff and community members who have participated in our our earlier engagement opportunities, including surveys and virtual forums, that have helped inform the development of the process, the position announcement, and screening criteria the Board has developed for applicants.
Once the Board identifies superintendent finalists, we will update this page with those details.
January 15, 2021
The Southside School Board thanks everyone who participated in the recent superintendent search survey and virtual community forum.  This input was used to finalize the superintendent position announcement we are publicizing today and posting here for all stakeholders to see.  The School Board and search consultant will also be using staff and community input to screen applicants, develop interview questions and conduct reference checks throughout the screening and selection process.
The School Board also made the decision to adjust the title of the position to “Superintendent” to better reflect the majority of responsibilities for this position.  However, you will see in the position announcement that a willingness and ability to assist with principal functions to support our school is still part of the role and there will only be minor adjustments made to the roles/responsibilities for the superintendent and assistant principal positions moving forward.
With the posting of this opportunity, recruiting has already begun and applications will be accepted until February 10th.  The School Board will screen applications for qualified candidates and select three finalists to interview, in person, in our district on February 23, 24, 25.  These finalist interviews will include tours of the school, interviews with staff representatives and our School Board, and will finish with virtual public forums where stakeholders will meet each candidate and be invited to share written input with the Board regarding each of them.
On February 25th, following the third and final interview, the Board will convene a Special Meeting to consider each finalist during an executive session and the Board will announce their selection once a decision is made.
As the process proceeds, we will update this search page with additional information.

Southside School District Board of Directors presents an invitation to apply for the position of


1.0 FTE; (.8 FTE Option Depending on Exp./Qualifications)

The Position

  • The Southside School District Board of Directors is seeking candidates with the following skills and qualifications:
  • Educator and leadership experience essential for success as a Superintendent; Principal Certification is required; Superintendent Certification preferred, but not required;
  • Elementary teaching experience preferred;
  • Willingness and ability to perform principal functions to support the school as needed;
  • Respect for all staff and community with an approachable personality and a commitment to honesty and integrity;
  • Ability to provide competent, financial oversight of the district and align expenditure decisions with district priorities;
  • A demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and listen to multiple voices and perspectives as a leader;
  • A collaborative leadership style that inspires and builds teamwork and trust among all stakeholders;
  • Ability to pursue available funding opportunities to enhance learning opportunities for students;
  • Forward thinking and innovative in facilitating problem-solving and strategic planning;
  • Demonstrated capability to build and maintain collaborative relationships with employee unions/associations, parent groups, community organizations, staff, and the school board;
  • A commitment to become part of the Southside community and engage visibly in school and community events.

The Board prefers the Superintendent live within the Southside/Shelton community but requires the Superintendent to live within 25 miles of the district boundary.

The Board of Directors will negotiate a multi-year contract with a competitive salary, commensurate with local and like-sized Washington state school districts with the selected candidate.

The Community

The Southside community adjoins with the city of Shelton, Washington  just 35 minutes northwest of Olympia on the shores of Oakland Bay on beautiful Puget Sound.  Southside families enjoy a community that is rich in history, culture and natural beauty where the school serves as a center for many community events throughout the year.

The district is situated close to such recreational wonders as Mt. Rainier, The Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges, Puget Sound, and the Pacific Ocean.  Portland and Seattle provide additional urban attractions just a 2-3 hour drive from the area.

The history of growth in Shelton and the surrounding area began in the 1800’s with early commerce consisting primarily of logging and lumber, farming, dairying and ranching as well as oyster cultivation .  As with many Washington state local economies, Mason County’s economic history is rooted in natural resources. While this has changed over time, industries such as forest products and aquaculture remain critical to the local economy. In recent years, retail and service industries have grown as resource and manufacturing employment has receded. Today, the sector with the greatest immediate growth potential in the area is tourism and outdoor recreation.

The District

The Southside School District serves 200 students in grades K-7 on it’s campus located on the southeast side of Shelton, Washington. The district  was formed on March 10, 1903 where school was first held in Albert Ackley’s home serving  eight students. Mr. Ackley later deeded one acre of land where Southside’s first school house was built. Classes continued in the one room school house until an addition was built in 1912. By 1953, enrollment had grown to 100 students and a new academic building was constructed .  Additional buildings were added in 1958, 1968, and 1990 with expansion projects completed from 2003-2005.

Many generations have passed through Southside halls. The School is the pride of the community and a symbol of our unity. Each year, Southside School continues to grow, including new families that are as committed to learning as the founding fathers were.

As the parents and community of 1903 strove to give children a great place to learn, so to are the present Southside families and community. The Southside Booster Club actively supports our school programs and sponsors special events throughout the year including an annual community festival  and a booster club dessert and auction event .  For over 100 years, Southside School District has maintained its independence, enjoyed consistent community support, and focused on providing excellent learning experiences for students.

Southside Elementary with rainbow

Board of Directors

The Southside Board of Directors consists of five Board members, each elected to serve a four-year term, without compensation, for overlapping terms of two years each. In the fall of each year, the Board elects a President, a Vice President and a legislative representative to serve one-year terms.

Southside School Board Members   Years Served

Laurie Cox,  President 10

Gigi Olsen, Vice President 1

John Johnson, Legislative Rep. 1

Matt Jewett 1

Brian Phipps 1

District Priorities

The Board has identified the following priorities candidates are asked to address within their letter of application

  • Develop collaborative working relationships with parents, staff, community and School Board focused on shared priorities.
  • Facilitate inclusive decision-making processes to ensure stakeholder engagement and input opportunities
  • Develop a budget planning process which ensures stakeholder engagement and education, alignment of expenditures with system priorities and responsible financial management.
  • Facilitate a school-wide plan for addressing learning loss and social-emotional needs as a result of school closure/remote learning impacts.
  • Gather input regarding district communication strategies and develop an effective plan to address identified challenges and opportunities.

Application Procedures

Submit all application materials electronically to within application platform. 

  • A formal letter of application containing personal and professional qualifications , your reasons for interest in the position, and how you would address district priority areas (file upload)
  • A current resume (file upload);
  • A completed application at
  • Three to five current letters of recommendation that address your qualifications and leadership abilities uploaded with application (file upload). 

For full consideration, please submit all application materials electronically by February 10, 2021, at 1:00 p.m.

Inquiries regarding the position and/or questions regarding the application process  should  be emailed to John Bash, search consultant, at or by calling 360-269-8224.

Please note: Candidates are asked not to contact Board members directly.  Any effort to do so may result in disqualification for the position. 

Selection Timeline

  • Finalists selected by the Board of Directors: Feb. 16, 2021
  • Finalist Interviews and Community Forums: Feb. 23, 24, 25
  • Selection Decision: February 25
  • Start date: July 1, 2021

Southside SD Superintendent Announcement