North Beach superintendent a finalist for top job in Longview

Longview School Board to pick Friday morning between Jim Shank, two others for superintendent role

Less than one year after he was sworn in, the superintendent of the North Beach School District could be on the move.

The Longview School District announced Feb. 17 that Dr. Jim Shank, the current chief of North Beach Schools, is one of three finalists to become the next superintendent at the school district in Southwest Washington. The district’s board of directors plans to make a final decision on a job offer at a special meeting scheduled for Friday, Feb. 23 at 8 a.m.

The job will begin July 1.

Shank, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning, was slated to attend a community forum at R.A. Long High School Thursday evening.

Working with the same consulting firm North Beach used to recruit Shank one year ago, Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, the Longview district closed the job application Jan. 31 and interviewed six applicants Feb. 17 before choosing three finalists.

Shank was born in Longview and graduated from R.A. Long High School. He left to attend Brigham Young University and then completed doctoral studies at Idaho State University. He has 15 years of superintendent experience and was the head educator at Idaho Falls School District before coming to North Beach.

Shank was also the principal at Miller Jr. High School in Aberdeen during the 1999-2000 school year.

He was appointed to be the North Beach superintendent by the school board on March 14, 2023, and sworn in June 20. Shank filled the role that had been in flux since March 2022, when former Superintendent Andrew Kelly was placed on paid leave and later resigned after being summoned to court on a DUI charge from 2017.

Shank tightened the school district’s budget last July as cash reserves continued to dwindle, mostly cutting administrative salaries without laying off staff with a Reduction in Force.

The district passed a programs and operations levy with 55% support in the recent special election, securing $2.3 million each year for the next two years.

Last April, Shank signed on to a three-year contract with a $185,000 salary. The contract can be terminated through mutual agreement, resignation, disability or discharge for cause.

The contract requires the school board to evaluate the superintendent’s performance at a meeting no later than Jan. 31 of each contract year, and by May 31 devote at least part of a meeting to “discussion of the working relationship between the superintendent and the board, along with the board’s evaluation of the superintendent’s performance.”

Board President Jeff Albertson couldn’t be reached on Thursday morning to confirm if the board had completed the evaluation yet.

Other final candidates for the Longview position include Dr. Karen Cloninger, an assistant superintendent of East Valley School District in Spokane Valley, and John Hannah, superintendent of the Morton School District.

The next superintendent will replace Don Zorn, who has had the job for nine years and announced his retirement last October.

Contact reporter Clayton Franke at 406-552-3917 or