After a months-long search, the Stockton Unified School District’s Board of Trustees has settled on a candidate to become the next superintendent.

And in true cliff-hanger fashion, we’ll find out Friday.

The SUSD Board’s search committee confirmed on Wednesday they have selected a candidate to bring in front of the full board of trustees. The name of the proposed superintendent will be revealed on Friday and put on the official agenda for Tuesday’s regularly-scheduled meeting.

Wednesday’s meeting at SUSD headquarters was to announce that a candidate had been chosen and to give more insight into the search process. Board Vice President Kennetha Stevens, who chaired the committee, stated it was important for the SUSD community to feel involved in the search.

McPherson & Jacobson, the firm hired by the district in February to conduct its superintendent candidate search, launched an online survey in English and Spanish. 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.

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.

“I think the way that we went about it actually worked out for all of us,” Stevens told the crowd gathered for the update. “Making sure that you all are a part of the stakeholder committee and having a voice when picking a new superintendent. … That’s why we called it a ‘debrief.’ ”

Many at the meeting appreciated the committee’s commitment to transparency. Stevens was joined on the committee by SUSD Board President AngelAnn Flores and Sofia Colon, the board clerk.

Antonio Morales (left) speaks during the SUSD superintendent search meeting on May 31. (Robyn Jones)

“I think that it was a really neat demographic of stakeholders that were involved because we were all from different walks of life,” said Tara Iris, SUSD Director of Health Services. “We are able to be open to the honesty and I think that really worked because then we were able to put our biases aside and really think, what’s the best for our kids in our district?”

In addition, the panelists appreciated the transparent conversations, teamwork, honesty from each panelist and from the board, and a genuine Superintendent interview process.

Moving the meeting along, Stevens shifted the discussion at one point by asking the public what the board could do in order to be more inclusive. Antonio Morales, a retired district member and concerned grandfather, addressed his issues regarding the difficulty of navigating the SUSD website.

“I’m not a computer person,” Morales said. “I didn’t get involved. I didn’t read the stakeholders paper, so it might be on that page, or somewhere in the board documents or something. But I couldn’t find it,” Morales said.

District officials said keeping the public informed was a crucial element of the search.

“I would say that we really showed we are Stockton Unified,” said Flores.

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. 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. 

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