The Bellevue School Board selected a familiar face from three candidates to be the next superintendent of Bellevue Public Schools.

The district said Thursday that the school board has extended an offer to Jeff Rippe, 48, the current assistant superintendent. He will be the next superintendent pending contract negotiations and an official board vote.

The decision was announced a day after the school board interviewed the three candidates Wednesday night.

The board still will have to vote to approve Rippe’s appointment in a public meeting if contract negotiations are worked out. The date of that meeting has not been set.

Amanda Oliver, spokeswoman for the district, said Rippe and the district would not comment on the appointment until negotiations are completed.

School Board President Phil Davidson, speaking for himself, said he was happy with the decision, given Rippe’s experience working with military families and his passion for Bellevue.

If approved, Rippe will replace superintendent Frank Harwood, who has accepted the same position at the De Soto Unified School District No. 232 in northeast Kansas. He was paid a base salary of $220,000.

Harwood joined Bellevue Public Schools in 2011, replacing John Deegan. Rippe was also a finalist at the time.

Rippe and two other candidates, Dean Gorrell and Robert Moore, interviewed for the top job. A fourth candidate withdrew after accepting a job at another school district.

Bellevue Public Schools said in a press release that more than 30 people completed the application process before the search was narrowed to the four finalists.

The school district hired search firm Ray and Associates for a base fee of $16,500 to assist in the search.

Rippe is in his 13th year as the assistant superintendent.

He began his 24 years in education as a business teacher at Arlington High School before joining the Bellevue district. He was the dean of students and a principal at Bellevue West High School before moving to the district office in 2001, where he has been the director of secondary education, acting superintendent and assistant superintendent.

Rippe has a bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University plus a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is married and has two children enrolled in Bellevue Public Schools.

Contact the writer: emily.nitcher@owh.com, 402-444-1192

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