Superintendent search continues as board reviews list of candidates

The Claremont Unified School District board of education met in closed session Thursday night to discuss the search for a new superintendent. A public comment period was provided, however, no community members attended the meeting to present comments to the board.

According to Bill Diedrich of Dave Long & Associates, the district has 33 applications from the pool of candidates provided by the search firm. Of the 33 applicants, 3 are from out of state.

“Normally in this day and age if we get 21, 22 or 23 we’re pleased,” Mr. Diedrich said. “I think [the high number of applicants] is a commentary on the district.”

Interview candidates are responsible for all travel expenses for the initial interview, according to information provided on Dave Long & Associates’ website. However, CUSD board members or representatives of the district may schedule a visit to the final candidate’s district prior to making its decision

The district paid $23,450 for Dave Long & Associates consulting services, which will include a leadership transition workshop following the new superintendent hire. In addition to Mr. Diedrich, Patricia Novotney of Dave Long & Associates conducted 2 public forums, interviewed community members and worked with the board to develop a list of experience and traits that are expected in the new superintendent.

“We are following all of the information we got from the community,” Mr. Diedrich said. “We’re really looking for people that meet that. Based on what we gathered, Claremont has very high standards.”

Among the professional and personal characteristics sought by the district are classroom, administrative and district experience, a willingness to support the “uniqueness” of school sites and an ability to model an “open, inclusive, collaborative, consensus building and confident leadership style with all individuals and groups,” among others.

Little information is available relating to the special meeting of the board Thursday night, as discussion was held in closed session.

“We’re in step 6 of a 10 step process. It’s still unfolding,” Mr. Diedrich said. “What I can say is that this board is taking a great deal of caution, time and interest in the search. Probably more than a lot of boards I work with.”

Liz Jefferson, administrative assistant to the superintendent stated the results from Thursday’s meeting will be posted on the CUSD website soon, with the first selection of candidate interviews to be schedule soon.

“They will be going to interview on Monday,” Ms. Jefferson said.

According to Dave Long & Associates’ website, a professional screening committee comprised of retired superintendents and individuals with human resource backgrounds will work with the CUSD board to interview and eventually select the superintendent.

“Professional screeners go through the application and they look at all the criteria established by the board,” Mr. Diedrich said. “They do a great deal of background checking of people who know these people, and of people who are not listed as references.”

The next regular meeting of the school board is Thursday, May 3 at the Kirkendall Education Center Board Room, 170 W. San Jose Ave. Visit www.cusd.claremont.edu for information.

—Kathryn Dunn

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