High School District Seeks Community Input in Supe Search

Leadership Associates, a search firm hired by the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District, will have two meetings with public, July 14 and Aug. 16.

trustees have begun the process of selecting a new district superintendent, and they're asking for community input about the desired characteristics in their next leader.

The search firm Leadership Associates has been selected to advise the trustees in the process now that former district Superintendent He resigned June 7 after he accepted an offer to lead the Milpitas Unified School District.

The district will hold two public community forums from 6-7:15 p.m. on July 14 and Aug. 16, at Los Gatos and at Saratoga high schools, 20 High School Court and 20300 Herriman Ave., respectively, to seek the public's feedback about the process.

The meetings will be conducted in both towns simultaneously, to hear from parents, students, teachers and school staff about the qualities they would like their next superintendent to have.

On the dates of the meetings, consultants will be available from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. at district headquarters to also speak to the public about the search process.

"They'll [the forums] be open to everyone," said Michele van Zuiden, president of the district's board of trustees. "We're trying to make it convenient for the two communities."

Trustees selected Leadership Consultants as soon as they knew Matsuoka would be leaving and that a replacement would be needed. The company will receive $26,000 for its help with the search process.

The decision to hire the consultant, however, wasn't unanimous. "The concern was expressed that we were going too fast with the [selection] process; however, when we look back in 2006, when we hired Cary [Matsuoka], the process at the time was similar to the process we're proposing," van Zuiden said.

"We're tring to use our past experience to plan for the future. This will be critical. It's who leads the district, and we're looking for the best candidate in order to take our district to the next level of excellence. We're very proud of our district. We're financially stable now that the public has supported us with the parcel tax."

A new timeline for the superintendent's search has been posted on the district's website, which is more elongated than the search process five years ago to get additional public input, she explained. 

Input to Leadership Associates may also be also offered through fax at 949-461-9119, letter or email at leadershipassociates.upland@gmail.com, or direct telephone conversation by calling Larry Aceves, Jim Brown or Don Iglesias at 909-985-7814.

The first round of individual and small group appointments will be held in the Los Gatos district office, 17421 Farley Road, July 14. To arrange an appointment, call Jane Marashian at 408-354-5980. Appointments for Aug. 16 will be scheduled later.

Leading the district temporarily is Bob Mistile, a longtime educator who had been serving as the agency's assistant superintendent of human resources.

Asked if the superintendent's position is being advertised with Matsuoka's 2010-11 $185,869 salary, van Zuiden said trustees haven't decided how much they will pay the district's next leader, as it will be based on experience. "It will be a negotiated item when we select the final candidate," she said.

According to the timeline, a new superintendent should be selected by October of this year.


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