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Lane ESD board picks finalists for top job.

Byline: Anne Williams The Register-Guard

From an applicant pool of 24, the board of the Lane Education Service District this week zeroed in on two finalists in its search for a new superinten- dent.

Both have strong local ties. Debbie Egan, 51, has been superintendent in the Lowell School District since 2004, and served as a teacher and director of special education there the year before. A Westridge Middle School teacher and principal between 1985 and 1995, Egan then spent seven years as an administrator in Springfield, the last three as the district's director of programs.

Larry Horton, 56, was superintendent in Oakridge for six years before taking the same job in the Sweet Home School District in 2002.

Before coming to Oakridge, he had spent his career as a teacher, principal and superintendent in California.

Horton said he sees the ESD job as an opportunity to serve a greater number of children.

"It's something that is kind of a career goal to me," he said. "It is the top of my profession, getting to become an ESD superintendent, so I've kind of been working my way slowly and thoughtfully up the ladder, looking for a place to gain experience and finally reach a place where all the experience I've gained over time I can put to use."

Egan has extensive experience in special education and staff training - both key service functions of the ESD.

"I've worked with Lane ESD for about 20 years and I've always just been very appreciative of what they've done for districts, both urban and rural districts. I like the model of the ESD," she said.

With a $40 million annual budget, Lane ESD employs more than 320 full- and part-time employees. Education service districts collaborate with school districts to provide specific services, such as special education, technology assistance, staff training and truancy coordination.

Lane ESD board Chairwoman Sherry Duerst-Higgins said the district can't lose either way.

"We really feel like it's a win-win situation because they both are very strong candidates, they both have Lane County experience, superintedent experience," she said. "We're really, really pleased."

The new superintendent will replace Ron Hitchcock, who resigned last spring after two years on the job to take the deputy superintendent post at the Multnomah Education Service District in Portland.

Mike Vermillion, Hitchcock's predecessor, stepped out of retirement and has been filling in as interim superintendent this year.

No salary range was included with the job posting, but Hitchcock's annual salary was $98,700.

The finalists were interviewed again Thursday, and Duerst-Higgins said the board is likely to announce its top choice next week.
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Title Annotation:Schools; Both candidates for superintendent have ties to the local area
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 3, 2006
Words:436
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