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April 01, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, April 01, 2005

A superintendent wish list A superintendent wish list (April 01, 2005)

What the public, school board want in new CEO

By Allison Gerard

Through participation in recent citywide forums, Mountain View-Whisman parents and other community members have expressed what qualities they desire in the district's next superintendent.

The firm overseeing the superintendent search, The Cosca Group, previously met with the district's board members to compile a list of characteristics they wanted. Since March 25, the search firm has met with groups of parents, faculty members and other stakeholders. The participants have generated a list, which the board will review, of the district's strengths and needs and the characteristics that the next superintendent should have.

The new leader is expected to be in place by the end of July or the beginning of August, about one year since previous superintendent Jim Negri left for a job at an East Bay district.

"As a parent, I'm really glad they are asking for my opinion, but my concern is if there will be follow-through or if this is all for show," said Carol Nunnally, who has a child at Bubb School.

Ultimately, the board has the final say on identifying important characteristics a superintendent candidate must possess, but a wise board will listen to the community, said Steve Goldstone, a consultant with The Cosca Group.

"The proof is in the pudding," he said.

Goldstone explained that when community members see the board's reaction to the information and the use of it in the selection process, they will understand that the board is seriously listening to the community.

What the community wants is a candidate who has a proven track record of financial success and a desire to set and achieve measurable goals, the consultants said. Traits like charismatic, accountable, approachable, detail-oriented and creative were added to the lists on butcher paper that hung around a district room during the March 28 evening forum.

"What we need is someone who does not pay lip service to parent involvement but has a track record of supporting parent involvement," said Gary Rosen, a Slater parent.

Those present at the Monday night forum said there is a need for someone who is committed to the district and the community. Proven leadership with English language learners and the ability to treat the engaged community as a resource were high on the list of needs as well.

Many parents also agreed that the district needs a leader who is willing to take on the issues faced by Mountain View-Whisman, who won't give up, and who will be able to make improvements. They said the ideal leader would stay at least five years in the position.

"The board is not going to hire someone who is just a good interviewee.We want someone who can also perform," said Goldstone.

The Cosca Group plans to provide the board with at least five candidates by May or early June and help reduce the field to one in July. A new superintendent is expected to take the helm in August.
E-mail Allison Gerard at [email protected]

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