School district seeks input on job search
May 13, 2013
During a Nevada Joint Union High School District board meeting Wednesday night, details of the community input for the search for a new superintendent were released.
The board has been working with the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Office to facilitate the process, posted an online survey and hosted two community input meetings for the search, asking what the challenges are for the district and what characteristics the new leader should have.
More than 100 staff members and 36 parents and community members completed the survey.
Four parents and 25 students attended the community input meeting at Bear River and three parents, three students and one teacher/parent attended the meeting at Nevada Union.
"I am extremely impressed with the thoughtful community input," said county Superintendent Holly Hermansen. "There were very consistent themes across all the input."
Some of the district's challenges expressed during the community input meeting at Nevada Union were drugs, declining enrollment, inconsistent leadership and meeting the needs of students.
Bear River found declining enrollment, lack of funding, a lack of Advanced Placement classes, facilities needs and lack of consistency in leadership to be some of the obstacles.
The staff survey indicated that the most important attributes of a superintendent would be good communication skills, including effective listening, speaking and writing skills, with 59 votes, that they create a motivating and fulfilling work environment where employees feel valued, respected and collaborative, which garnered 68 votes, and that they have competent financial and budget skills and are knowledgeable of the characteristics of effective schools, which gained 60 and 55 votes, respectively.
"Staff members felt classroom experience should be required," Hermansen said. "That came across very loud and clear."
Allison Cassel, teacher, parent and union president, said she appreciated that the board and county office asked for community input. The location of the interviews was considered, with possible options including the county district office or the high schools.
The members of the advisory panel who will interview prospective candidates and report back to the board include two classified staff members, two certificated staff members, one community member, two parents, one district office administrator, one vice principal and one principal.
Teacher Judy Herrera expressed frustration during public comment that the board added two administrators to the panel despite a previous decision that the panel should not be overpopulated with administrators.
David Heppe, a parent and panel member, said after the meeting that he had no problem with the two additional board members on the panel since the administration is the group that works the most directly with the superintendent.
The next steps in the process include a paper screening and initial reference check June 3 to 10, a board meeting in closed session to finalize the candidates for interviews June 12 and interviews June 18. A final reference check will be conducted June 19 to 26 as well as the preparation of the contract. The board will meet to announce the selection of a candidate July 1.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.