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Santa Barbara School Board Puts Plan in Place to Select Superintendent by June 2

Search firm representatives talk with district officials about what to expect from the recruitment and hiring process

The search is on for the Santa Barbara School District’s new superintendent, and the school board is hopeful of offering a contract in early June.

The school board met Friday to schedule the months-long process through which it will work closely with search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to create a leadership profile and narrow down a pool of applicants to the final candidate.

The board signed on with HYA after its first two choices withdrew their proposals for undisclosed reasons.

Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates will meet with board members and stakeholders — including teachers and local nonprofit organizations — to create a leadership profile for the kind of candidate the district wants. A public forum will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, March 14 at San Marcos High School’s theater (English) or Santa Barbara Junior High theater (Spanish) for anyone wishing to contribute to the process. Click here for a public survey that also will be used to gather input from all interested parties.

From there, HYA will create advertisements for educational literature and Web sites while actively seeking out people for the job.

“We don’t have a group of people we bring up — we go look for people who fit with Santa Barbara,” HYA senior associate Carolyn McKennan said.

In May, the board and HYA will review the pool of applicants, invite five to a first round of interviews and then three to a second round. Those candidates will go on tours, be interviewed more informally and attend a dinner meeting with the board so “you will have seen this person in all sorts of circumstances,” McKennan said.

All of this will be in closed session to protect the confidentiality of the candidates, which means the community won’t know who is being considered — only who has been offered a contract.

A final decision will be made June 2, contracts will be drawn up and HYA will take a week to do its due diligence and dive deeper into the person’s past than it does for initial pre-screening.

Verifying college degrees, checking arrest records and financial records, and calling board members of the person’s current district is done for the person the district has chosen to hire, said McKennan, adding that it’s rare for something unsavory to come to light in that period since all candidates are warned that HYA will be investigating them.

District counsel Craig Price encouraged the district to announce the finalist on June 2 if possible.

“Frankly, it would allow a lot more vetting of that candidate,” he said.

Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates was initially dismissed as a potential search firm because an Oxnard School District candidate recruited through the company was placed on administrative leave within eight months of getting the job. Even with a one-year guarantee to try again, the district hasn’t announced whether it will take HYA up on that offer, school board president Annette Cordero said at a previous meeting. The search will cost $31,500 plus expenses, including travel for finalists to come to the interviews.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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