Board Advances Past Go in Superintendent Search

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Superintendent Winfred Roberson at a 2014 press conference
Superintendent Winfred Roberson at a 2014 press conference

by Nicholas von Wettberg

The development of an ad-hoc Superintendent Search Firm Committee will be the first step for the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) Board of Education in its process to fill the upcoming vacancy.

If all goes according to plan, in Thursday’s meeting at the Community Chambers, the board will approve a requested motion, which recommends the establishment of the ad-hoc committee, along with defining its role, membership and impact on the process.

It is a selection process resulting from Superintendent Winfred Roberson’s recent decision to accept the same position he has had in Davis, but for the Glendale Unified School District. His departure, after a well-received five-year run of leadership, is expected sometime early this spring.

Following the formation of an ad-hoc committee, the next step would be to write up a request for proposals (RFP), with assistance from the district staff, and coordinate a “firm selection process” for “full Board review and approval.”

According to the proposed calendar for the search process, the timeline reads that, from February 19 to February 25, the ad-hoc committee will work closely with the staff in developing the RFP, and compiling a list of prospective search firms.

Per the DJUSD Board Bylaws, BB 9130 says in regard to board committees that “additional standing or ad-hoc committees shall be established and given their charge by the Board, and members appointed by the Board president.”

Board President Madhavi Sunder is in charge of appointing the members to the ad-hoc committee.

At that point, on February 25 according to the calendar, RFPs will be emailed and mailed out to the chosen companies, and the RFP is scheduled to be posted on the district website.

The district has provided an outline for what will be included in the RFP, which is a timeline, district information, and the scope of services. The latter is broken down into seven categories: community and staff engagement, recruitment search process (with a diverse candidate pool), screening process, interview process, references and background checks, contract process, and transition of a new leader.

The remaining parts of the RFP outline, as listed, are qualifications and experience, references, guarantees, fees and terms, and submission guidelines.

Currently, the district has a list of six firms in its search information. Three are from in state: Leadership Associates, The Cosca Group, Dave Long & Associates. The others are Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), McPherson & Jacobson/California School Boards Association (CSBA), and Ray & Associates, Inc.

Along the way, there are some other dates worthy of mention, notably March 3, which is when responses to the district’s RFP are due no later than 3:00 pm local time.

Following the deadline for submission is a weeklong stretch, from March 4 to March 11, where the ad-hoc committee plans on conducting its initial screenings of proposals, ending with a list of notified finalists.

Fifteen to 20-minute presentations will be included in the finalists’ interviews at the regular board meeting on Thursday, March 17, unless a special meeting is held earlier in the week, as clarified in the proposed calendar.

At the end of the meeting, the board is expected to approve a search firm that will work in tandem with them, during the search and appointment process, running from March to May, with an eventual target date of early July to fill the superintendent position.

All told, the total time to procure a search company, barring any unforeseen circumstances, should be four weeks.

The district’s projected cost of the search process falls somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000.

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