Sat10252014

Schools

MV-LA board to review applications for new schools chief

The Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees will review applications for the position of superintendent today. Board president Judy Hannemann said that by mid-May the board hopes to fill the vacancy left by Don Phillips, who accepted the superintendent position at the Palo Alto Unified School District last month.

Hannemann said the recruitment firm, Leadership Associates of San Marcos, hired by the board to help in the search for a new superintendent, has received approximately 25 applications from candidates throughout the United States.

The board is searching for someone with high school experience, central office experience and the ability to cope with a diverse student population, Hannemann said.

"We run the whole gamut here," Hannemann said. "We have students from the high economic end to the low economic end, and some in the middle. Our superintendent has to be able to deal with the broad set of needs in our district."

John Duncan is serving as the interim superintendent. The former superintendent for the San Ramon Valley School District commutes twice a week from his home in Danville to Los Altos. He said one of the main reasons the board hired him was because of his experience working in San Ramon, an area with a student population similar to Los Altos.

Duncan said the board has not asked him to initiate any dramatic changes. His role is to keep things running smooth during the school year and to keep the building projects under way, he said.

"My basic purpose is to add continuity and to facilitate the work of a talented staff that exists here in the district. It seems to be working out well," Duncan said.

Duncan said he is not a candidate for superintendent. Since his retirement three years ago, he merely serves as an interim superintendent for Bay Area school districts when needed. He has served as interim superintendent three times, he said.

This is the third time Hannemann has been involved in selecting a candidate, but this is the first time during her 16 years on the school board that she has had to hire an interim to fill a vacancy.

Hannemann said a difficult part of the search for a new superintendent will be finding someone to continue in the directions initiated by Phillips.

"Don Phillips was an excellent superintendent," Hannemann said. "We're not looking for a big change."

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