▶️ BLP excited for ‘visionary leader’ to move school district forward


Bend-La Pine Schools is preparing to welcome a new leader.

Dr. Steven Cook was unanimously approved by the school board to succeed interim superintendent Lora Nordquist in July.

The search for the next superintendent of Bend LaPine Schools took more than a year, but it finally ended Tuesday night.

School board members believe Cook meets or exceeds the characteristics they were looking for in the next leader.

“We wanted someone who was going to be a visionary leader. We wanted someone who was going to be an advocate for equity,” said Melissa Barnes Dholakia, vice-chair of the Bend La Pine Schools Board of Directors. “We wanted someone who was going to be a real community partner. We wanted someone who was going to be able to build the capacity of our school district. He does those things, in spades.”

Cook is currently superintendent of the Couer d’ Alene School District in Idaho which serves 11,000 students. Prior to that, he was deputy superintendent for Douglas County Schools in Colorado, a district with about 66,000 students.

Bend-La Pine named Cook a finalist in mid-December, along with Dr. Kristina Bellamy, from the Anchorage School District.

He was chosen for the role after both participated in virtual forums, where they took questions from staff and community members.

In the Couer d’ Alene Press newspaper, Coeur d’ Alene School Board Chair Jennifer Brumley thanked Cook for his vision and commitment to student achievement in Idaho.


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