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WDE announces three finalists for director position

Jun 3, 2013 - By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer

The final three candidates for the directorship of the Wyoming Department of Education have been announced.

The Wyoming State Board of Education has interviewed six semi-finalists and announced that Tony Apostle of Puyallup, Wash., Richard Crandall of Mesa, Ariz., and Norman Ridder of Springfield, Mo., will go on for review and selection by Gov. Matt Mead.

The three men bring a wide variety of educational experience to the interview table.

Apostle is a retired superintendent of Puyallup Public Schools in Puyallup, Wash. Apostle oversaw a district with 21,000 students and a budget of $230 million. Apostle has an education doctorate from Washington State University. He also was the director of administrative services and elementary education for Puyallup Schools.

Crandall has a master's of business administration from the University of Notre Dame and is the CEO and CFO of CN Resources and Crandall Corporate Dietitians in Mesa, Ariz. He is a current state senator in Arizona and the past chairman of the Arizona senate and house education committees. He also is a former member of the Mesa schools governing board.

Ridder is the current superintendent of the public schools in Springfield, Mo. Ridder oversees an enrollment of 24,876 students and a budget of $273 million. He has an education doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is the former superintendent of Colorado Springs School District 11, during which he oversaw a district with an enrollment of 31,000.

Other finalists

The three semi-finalists who did not advance were from Virginia, Idaho and Massachusetts.

Charles Hokanson is president of the Hokanson Consulting Group, LLC in Arlington, Va. Hokanson works with government agencies and non-profits on educational strategy, strategic management and donor relations. Hokanson has a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School and has held various positions in the U.S. Department of Education, including deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and chief of staff of the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development.

Stanley Olson is the director of business development of Silverback Learning Solutions in Boise, Idaho. Olson has a doctorate from Western Michigan University and was formerly a superintendent in Boise, Idaho, and Casper.

Michael Sentance is a consultant specializing in educational change out of Concord, Mass. Sentance has a juris doctorate from Duquesne University and a master of law degree from the Boston University School of Law. He is a former senior education adviser for the governor of Massachusetts.

The Wyoming State Board of Education was tasked with recommending to Mead three qualified candidates. The governor must appoint a permanent director before Dec. 1, according to Enrolled Act 1.

The board of education interviewed the semifinalists Friday and Saturday in closed session. The board set aside two hours for each interview, starting at 8:15 a.m. and ending at 5:45 p.m. Friday and again from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to the closed session interviews, semifinalists for the WDE director position participated in a question and answer session with the public Friday and Saturday. Stakeholders attending the meetings with director candidates were asked to offer their opinion on the candidates to the state board. That feedback was made available to the board before making a final decision.

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