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Board Selects Dr. Steve Cook as Next Superintendent for Bend-La Pine Schools

Unanimous decision during Board Meeting; Cook set to start July 1

Tonight, Bend-La Pine Schools’ Board of Directors voted unanimously to name Dr. Steve Cook as the district’s next superintendent. Cook, who currently serves as Superintendent at Coeur d’Alene School District in Idaho, will begin on July 1, 2021. Cook will succeed current interim Superintendent Lora Nordquist.

“Among an exceptional pool of candidates from across our nation, Dr. Cook rose to the top. During this search process, which began more than a year ago, our community came together to identify four key competencies that they wanted to see in a next superintendent. Those values are what guided our rigorous selection process and we are thrilled to say Dr. Cook meets and exceeds all of the attributes we were looking for. He is the visionary leader, advocate for equity, community partner and capacity builder our community wants and needs,” said Carrie Douglass, board chair.
In addition, Vice Chair Melissa Barnes Dholakia said, “Steve is a bold and innovative leader – he has stood up against inequities based on income in the communities he has served. And, he is deeply rooted in an educational vision that promotes student agency, places a focus on student-driven learning, and tends to the whole child – academically as well as socially and emotionally.”

Prior to serving in Idaho, Cook served as Acting Superintendent at Douglas County School District in Colorado, which serves 68,000 students. From 2014-2018 he served as Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools and Deputy Superintendent at Douglas County School District. Cook has more than 30 years of public education experience including serving as teacher, principal and superintendent. He holds a Doctorate of Education Leadership and Policy Studies.

“I am excited to come to Bend-La Pine Schools and continue to build upon the district’s strong education tradition and help bring to fruition the district’s efforts on equity, diversity and inclusion, while ensuring an unrivaled opportunity for innovation and an excellent education for every student.” said Cook. “I look forward to developing strong relationships with our staff members, our students and our community in ways that empower our students to be their best selves in the classroom and beyond.”

He is married to Stephanie Cook, a former critical care and school nurse, and has three grown children and one grandchild.

During the coming months, Cook will collaborate with board members, community partners, school leaders, educators and families to learn more about Bend-La Pine Schools as he transitions to becoming Superintendent July 1, 2021.

UPDATED: Projected Hiring Timeline

  • Week of January 6, 2020: Job opening announced
  • March 2020: Process delayed due to pandemic
  • September 1, 2020: Hiring process resumes
  • October 15, 2020: Application Deadline Update
  • November/December 2020: Semi-finalist and finalist interviews
  • January 2021: Announcement of appointment
  • July 1, 2021 or sooner: Superintendent begins

Learn more

Learn more about the superintendent search process, including recruitment, application process, the finalist pool, community participation and more.

Search Summary

Contact Us

Valerie Pitts, Ed. D.
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, Search Consultant
[email protected]

Julie Craig
Bend-La Pine Schools board member

Carrie Douglass
Bend-La Pine Schools board Chair

Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Candidate Core Competencies

En Español

Please consider each of the areas listed below as you provide feedback on the superintendent candidates.

Visionary Leader

  • Holds, demonstrates, and leads from a belief that all students can succeed
  • Builds support and belief in a common vision
  • Collaborates to set, advance, and meet clear goals
  • Listens to diverse stakeholders to make balanced decisions
  • Acts with courage and transparency
  • Embraces inquiry, self-reflection, transparency, and accountability

Advocate for Equity

  • Holds an equity lens rooted in a deep understanding of DEI
  • Holds a passion and plan for closing gaps in both experience and outcomes
  • Demonstrates strong skill in equitable practices

Community Partner

  • Leads with approachability, empathy, mutual respect, and integrity
  • Demonstrates active, committed, and visible leadership
  • Spearheads interagency collaboration

Capacity Builder

  • Holds deep and successful experience in classroom and school leadership
  • Leads with and models data-based decision making
  • Advances systems to monitor and drive progress toward long-term goals
  • Cultivates an organizational culture that embodies a vision and core values
  • Is a capacity builder, supporting staff to thrive, be successful, and retained
  • Creates and sustains relationships, through effective communication and collaboration.

Click on the photo below to read a full job description online or download the PDF

Superintendent Search Job Descriptions