The school board hired Dave Long and Associates Executive Search Services to help in the search process. William Diedrich, PhD, ran the forum at Glen City School Thursday evening.

SPESD hosts forums on selection of new superintendent

March 02, 2011
Santa Paula News

The Santa Paula Elementary School District held public forums at two schools last week, seeking input from the community on the selection of a new superintendent.

The school board hired Dave Long and Associates Executive Search Services to help in the search process.  William Diedrich, PhD, ran the forum at Glen City School Thursday evening.  A second forum was held the same night at Barbara Webster School.

About 50 people turned out for the Glen City forum.  Diedrich told the crowd that they wanted input on the characteristics, traits, qualities and experience they should be looking for in a superintendent.  His background includes teaching and 25 years as a superintendent.  He said the information they gather would be given to the school board, who will make the final decision on who to hire.

One speaker questioned the relationship between Diedrich’s company and the current interim superintendent, who was supplied to the SPESD by the firm.  Diedrich responded by saying that the interim superintendent barred himself from participating in the search process and the school board is aware of that.

Several people said they want the superintendent to be bilingual and active in the community.  One person, a third-generation Santa Paula, said she came back to teach 24 years ago.  She said many past superintendents didn’t know the past history and culture of Santa Paula.  She added that, in the past, superintendents weren’t seen in the classrooms.  She also said a candidate should have at least 10 years experience in the classroom.

Another teacher wants the candidate to have experience from various elementary levels to the 12th grade, including special education.  Another speaker said it’s important the experience be recent, otherwise they’ll be out of touch with what we’re doing.  One teacher said that it comes down to empathy and they need to understand small town culture.  She also wants a team player, not a dictator.

Another person said that in 24 years of teaching no one has ever asked teachers or the community for input before.  One speaker said the primary focus should be to find individuals who represent the makeup of the community.

A parent and district employee wants someone willing to work with parents to make him or her accountable for their child’s education.

The elementary board meets today at 5:00 p.m., where they will receive and possibly approve a recruitment brochure for the Superintendent’s position.





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