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February 10, 2010 > Superintendent leadership profile presented to FUSD Board

Superintendent leadership profile presented to FUSD Board

By Miriam G. Mazliach

Carolyn McKennan and Phil Quon consultants with Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, Ltd., the consulting firm retained to assist the district with the Superintendent search process, presented their findings, compiled after extensive interviews.

According to Lara York, President, FUSD Board of Education, in January, a total of thirty-three meetings were held for input from the community and various groups.
Additionally, over 275 response forms were received from the community at large, with their comments included in the report.

Citing the characteristics sought for the next Superintendent, as mentioned in the community's responses, McKennan and Quon summarized, "This leader should be able to manage a large, complex district using effective delegation, supervision and accountability practices. She/he should embrace diversity, be an advocate for students and have knowledge of instruction and strategic goals."

Most importantly what many parents and community members stressed was that the candidate be committed to a long tenure at Fremont. During the past five years, the district has seen three superintendents come and go; people want stability and continuity.

"Fremont is unique in what you have here," says Trustee Ivy Wu. "It is important that the new Superintendent have a sense of belonging, a partnership with Fremont. I'd like that attraction not to be just based on financial security, but a willingness to be involved."

Recruitment of individuals for the Superintendent position can be complicated by the confidentiality or lack thereof during the search process. McKennan and Quon recommended a confidential search, with interviews to be conducted by the Board only. This would prevent any information from leaking back to the current employers of those being considered. In previous "open searches" the number of community members on the selection panel became unwieldy and information got out before actual decisions were made.

Fremont parent, Hiu Ng stated, "I do believe people care in Fremont and confidentiality is o.k."

Trustee Lily Mei expressed her view, "Try for confidentiality, but realistically it's a risk and we can tell the applicants that, especially with finalists under scrutiny. But I feel that the community needs to have an opportunity for input."

Ultimately, the vote by the Board was 3-2, in favor of a "closed search" with York, Wu and Gebhardt voting in favor and Mei and Sweeney voting against it.

As explained by the consultants, the next step in the Superintendent search process will be to place an advertisement for the position in specifically targeted educational publications. A budget of $4,000 was voted on and approved.

A tentative schedule was outlined with screening of potential candidates to take place in March, followed by several rounds of interviews in April, and hopefully concluding with a new Superintendent to be selected by the July 1 start date.

After the meeting, when asked about filling his position, current Superintendent Milt Werner added, "This is the time when people are looking to make a transition. Fremont is a "top tier" district and I'm not worried at all about finding a strong pool of candidates."

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