New superintendent prepares for transition



Search continues in two districts

SUNNYSIDE — Kevin McKay’s hire as the School District’s new superintendent has created a vacancy for Zillah schools.

That district’s board meets tomorrow. Discussion is expected on the search for McKay’s successor.

The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Middle School library, 1301 Cutler Way.

The Grandview School District is also searching for a new superintendent after Kevin Chase was hired to fill the same post for Educational Service District No. 105.

Chase starts his new job July 1.

The Grandview School Board meets in executive session at 6 p.m. tomorrow to discuss candidate qualifications. No action will follow the closed-door meeting in the district office at 913 W. Second St.

— The School District’s new superintendent is already making plans to visit staff and students.

“Basically, I am going to do everything I can to meet as many people as I can between now and July 1,” Kevin McKay said.

McKay, 51, is superintendent of Zillah schools. The Sunnyside School Board hired him last Thursday from among three finalists.

District spokeswoman Jessica Morgan is assisting McKay with his meet-and-greet around the district between now and his first day on the job.

“We’re working with his schedule right now to see when he can come in,” she said.

McKay’s goal is to visit every school in the district during the month of May.

“My goal is to be very visible in the schools so students and staff can ask questions,” he said. “I think that’s going to be a great benefit.”

McKay plans to sit in on School Board workshops in May and June.

Knocking all that off his to-do list requires support from his current employer, McKay admits.

“A really important part of this is the Zillah School Board allowing the transition to take place where I can be in both districts,” he said.

McKay said he will reciprocate and offer a helping hand when Zillah hires a new superintendent.

“We wish him well in his new position. The students of Sunnyside and the community are very fortunate in their choice of leadership for their school district,” the Zillah School Board said in an announcement on the district website.

A former Sunnyside High School teacher, McKay said he is familiar with the district but wants to follow up on comments from the community.

“Through the process of the interview it became apparent there are lots of very good things going on in the district,” he said. “At the same time there will be things that need improvement.”

McKay said that includes addressing concerns about a failed athletic facilities levy two years ago.

His priorities will include sustaining progress on high school graduation rates and making sure the Washington Elementary School construction project “… finishes up the way it’s expected to be done.”

School Board President Steve Winfree said McKay will benefit from having a background in the Yakima Valley.

McKay, as well as the other two finalists, all work for districts in the area.

“It’s really exciting, because in their schools the demographics are similar to ours,” Winfree said. “It gives us confidence their work would translate here.”

McKay and his wife, Janet, are looking for a home in Sunnyside. He’s already been invited to speak to the local Rotary Club.

“I’m hitting the ground running,” he said. “I’m already starting to prepare myself for July 1.”


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