Mon09012014

Schools

MV-LA board selects recruitment firm for schools chief search

The MountainView-Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees has hired a recruitment firm to search for applicants who would vie for the open superintendent position being vacated by Don Phillips, board president Judy Hannemann announced in a March 3 letter to parents.

Hannemann said the board selected Leadership Associates of San Marcos, Calif. The recruitment firm comprises four former superintendents from all around the state who have participated in 25 searches over the past three years.

Phillips, Mountain View-Los Altos superintendent since 1990, accepted the schools chief position in the Palo Alto Unified School District last month. He is set to leave the district in April.

Recruiters Jake Abbott and Harry Weinberg, in charge of the Mountain View-Los Altos search, and board members will be seeking input at two public meetings this month. The first, 5:30-7 p.m. tonight in the district office, is by appointment only. Diane Fischer in the superintendent's office will be scheduling individual times parents and other concerned residents can meet with the consultants.

The consultants also will be available 6:30 p.m. March 24, before the regular board meeting, to hear public comments.

"A very important early step in this process is to identify the characteristics we will be looking for in a new superintendent," Hannemann said in the letter. "We would like to receive input from our parents, staff, students and the community to assist us in this process."

Abbott, a Walnut Creek resident and a former superintendent of school districts in Fresno and Mount Diablo, said his firm asks school districts to set meetings up with people representative of staff, students and parents to identify what kinds of personality traits and professional qualifications are more preferred.

"We know you have a diverse (school) community ethnically, so we would look at experience in a diverse community," Abbott said the firm solicits "top-flight" people from other school districts. The recruiters also advertise nationally and conduct extensive reference checking.

Abbott said their goal would be to supply five or six strong candidates for school board interviews by the end of May.

"Mountain View-Los Altos has an excellent reputation," Abbott said.

"We feel on one hand, that Don Phillips is a tough act to follow - on the other hand, the district will attract good candidates."

Those interested in offering input at either of the two meetings can call Fischer at 940-4669.

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