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School board to consider superintendent selection process today

Published February 25, 2014

The Palo Alto Board of Education is set to discuss the selection of a search firm, which will aid in the process of choosing a candidate to replace retiring Superintendent Kevin Skelly, at its meeting tonight.

According to Board President Barb Mitchell, the district hopes to replicate the replacement process it used in 2007, when Skelly was chosen and hired.

“In 2007, we hired a search firm (Leadership Associates) to facilitate our superintendent search process,” Mitchell said in an email. “They organized and solicited community inputs on desired superintendent attributes from students, staff, and parents, advertised, recruited applicants, conducted reference checks, and coordinated interviews.”

At the meeting, the board will decide whether to simply rehire Leadership Associates or to consider proposals from several other search firms, according to materials prepared for the meeting.

If the board chooses to consider multiple firms, possible companies will give presentations at the March 11 board meeting, after which the board will select one to direct the search process.

The board also plans to incorporate input from the Palo Alto community throughout the process, as in 2007. According to the meeting materials, more than 650 inputs on superintendent attributes were collected from parents, students, teachers, and administrators during the search that year.

“The school board will discuss this as a group and gather inputs from students, staff and parents,” Mitchell said.

The released materials plan for focus groups and community forums to be held the week of March 17-28, before the district’s spring break.

The proposed dates are tentative, however; in 2007, the search firm was selected on Feb. 28 and the entire process took about four months.

“This [year’s plan] may be an optimistic timeline,” the meeting materials said.

Skelly will be resigning effective June 30, at the end of the current school year.

Though the timing may end up differently from 2007, Mitchell does not foresee many differences in the type of candidate the Board is looking for.

“I would anticipate that we will be looking for a similar profile [as 2007] this year,” she said.


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