Stockton Unified is looking for community input to help district leadership in choosing its next permanent superintendent.
McPherson & Jacobson, the firm hired by the district in February, to conduct its superintendent candidate search, have launched an online survey and will hold two final public discussion sessions in mid April.
The survey will be available through Friday, April 14, and includes both a Spanish and English version. All members of the Stockton Unified Community, including faculty, staff, students and families, are encouraged to participate. Community-based organizations, as well as other local stakeholders and leaders, will also be consulted in the process.
“We encourage you to provide valuable input into determining the qualities of the next Superintendent,” SUSD officials say on the district’s website. “We would appreciate it if you would take a moment to complete the online Superintendent Search Community and Educational Partners’ Survey.”
Stockton Unified has been without a permanent superintendent since last summer, when John Ramirez Jr. resigned his post a little more than a year into his three-year contract.
McPherson & Jacobson consultants presented a draft of criteria to the district’s governing board in March that will be used in identifying candidates for Stockton Unified’s top leadership position, as well as a tentative calendar for the search and hiring process.
Board President AngelAnn Flores asked consultants during the meeting that the calendar adopt an accelerated format, setting a deadline for hiring a new superintendent in May rather than the original deadline in June, acknowledging that request may “throw … that curveball” into the plan.
The consultants agreed it could be done ad even acknowledged that moving a little faster in the search may even prove to be an advantage for the district.
“It’s a very competitive season this year. There are a lot of districts out there that are looking for superintendents,” said Bill Huyett, lead consultant for the SUSD’s superintendent candidate search. And if you do accelerate your search, it’s possible that somebody that you’re competing for with another district, you might have even a better chance.”
Though he did add that it could also mean not providing enough time for some candidates to apply. However, he added that factor shouldn’t give too much concern due to where they are in the process already and the district’s status.
“You’re a well known district. And we’re out there spreading the word already,” Huyett said, with various job posting having already gone live March 13. “I think you will not be harmed much by reducing the amount of time that the job has flown.”
The superintendent candidate of choice will be slated to start their new position with the district at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year on July 1.
Trustees approved by a 6-0 vote both to move forward in the search process, as well as the general search criteria that will be used to help identify the best candidates for the job. Trustee Cecilia Mendez was absent from the vote.
Search criteria includes: strong listening and communication skills; values and actively works to build trusting relationships; demonstrate high levels of cultural competency; prioritizes and actively works to build strong family and community partnerships; demonstrates fiscal and budget management skills; be a visionary innovative leader; and demonstrate high levels of integrity and moral values.
Stockton Unified has been accused of having a “revolving door” of superintendents. The district has had about 15 interim and permanent superintendents in the last 30 years.
According to another presentation given to the board last month, McPherson & Jacobson said that the average retention rate of the superintendents hired through searches the firm has conducted is between 3.2 and 4.6 years, with 85% of those hired in the last five years still the job.
Going further out, the firm says that 60% of those hired in the last 10 years are still in their current districts and that number goes to 45% to those hired in the past 15 years.
Final community input and discussion meetings will be held later this month. The session for Spanish speakers is scheduled for April 11 at 6 p.m. at the SUSD Arthur Coleman Administrative Complex on South Lincoln Street in the district’s governing board public meeting room. A discussion session in English is scheduled for April 13 at 6 p.m. in the same location.