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Santa Barbara School Board Begins Search for New District Superintendent

The district may consider hiring a search firm to help replace retiring Superintendent Brian Sarvis

What kind of superintendent does the Santa Barbara School District need?

Now that Superintendent Brian Sarvis has announced his impending retirement, the school board is starting the selection process for a new leader.

Albert Zonana, associate superintendent of human resources for the Santa Barbara County Education Office, discussed the process and said it’s “probably the most important decision you’ll make as a school board.”

The district could take the process into its own hands or hire a search firm to do the headhunting and oversee recruiting, screening and interviewing potential candidates.

A firm would evaluate the district’s strengths, challenges and community cultures, oversee advertising and screening of candidates, and help with salary and benefit negotiations, Zonana said. All major decisions in the selection process are made by the school board.

The pool of California candidates isn’t as large as it used to be, especially for a bigger, complex district, he said.

Many other county districts have used firms recently, including the Hope Elementary School District, the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District and the Montecito Union Elementary School District. Smaller districts tend to use the County Education Office services available, as did the Lompoc Unified School District.

It could take three to four months to get to the point of interviewing candidates, so the school board asked to see drafts of a request for proposals from search firms. Such a service most likely would cost the district $20,000 to $25,000.

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.

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