Q&A with Debbie Ebert

By Bonifacio Yuzon, Staff Writer

Debbie Ebert is the HR director for the Tigard-Tualatin School District. Earlier this week, she held a meeting during lunch at Tigard High for any curious students to inquire about the hiring process for the school’s new principal.


What qualities do you look for in a principal?

We are looking for someone that has experience[…] experience with leadership, and secondary experience. So we’ve heard from our staff here at Tigard High, very clearly, that experience is very important to them. [We’re looking for] somebody who knows what it’s like to be in a high school, so they’ve taught in a high school for a long time or been an administrator in a high school. And they’d be keen to know when they walk into a classroom what good instruction looks like. Somebody who will build relationships amongst everybody; students, staff, community, parents.


Through this construction project, how would you expect a new person would become familiar with the work going on?

Well, Principal Van Fleet has been very clear that he will work with[…] the two guys in our district that are in charge of the construction projects, to make sure that they transition the new principal into the work that’s already been done and what’s still left to do.


Does the district foresee any problems that would happen from integrating the new principal into this project?

No. We’ll give them tons of support[…] If it’s somebody that is already in the district that comes into this position, then they’ll have some background knowledge at least, but if we hire somebody from outside of the district, they’re gonna need a lot more support in terms of getting up to speed on what this requires.


Is there a preference in hiring someone from the district versus outside of the district?

Nope. We posted it both internal and external, which means that staff that work within our district are free to apply, and then we posted out on social media, and we have some other websites that we posted on.


To what extent is there a preference for gender and racial minorities in hiring this position?

That’s a strong vision in our district, to diversify our work force. That’s really important to us; that’s a top priority we look for when we’re hiring teachers and administrators and district office staff. That will be something we look at and screen for and we even go out to people that we know and ask, ‘Do you know anybody in the state and in education that’s interested in this position?’


What time is the district hoping to have the new principal hired?

The ultimate goal would be in the next couple weeks[…] The job posting closes next Friday, and then we would want to start interviewing candidates that we think are strong from their paperwork, and then[…] we’d narrow the group of candidates down. Then we would bring those candidates to a larger community interview where we would have students and parents and more staff, and then from there we would hope that we would find the person. But if we don’t, then we might have a third step in the process, or a fourth step in the process. You know, especially sometimes we get two people and it’s really hard to decide [between the two], so then you have to do another type of process between those two people.