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LAUSD superintendent search moves ahead quickly — application deadline is March 14

Mike Szymanski | February 27, 2018

* Updated Feb. 28

The LA Unified school board is moving forward quickly to find a new superintendent and has set a March 14 deadline for applications. 

The board will start reviewing applications after the search firm of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates has vetted the applicants and expects to make its selection in April. The application, job description, and desired characteristics are listed on their site:

The board decided not to commission a large-scale series of forums, surveys, and meetings asking for community input on what’s wanted in a new superintendent, board President Mónica García said Tuesday. The district plans to keep the process as open as possible with a special web page: which has the 2015 survey results from the past search, and the board’s criteria for candidates, as well as a place to provide additional comments about the search.

“We have all been getting input from our various communities every single day,” García said just before going into a special board meeting where they will discuss the search.

LA School Report is publishing a series of articles from parent groups and education leaders detailing the leadership qualities a new superintendent should have. García said the board has been paying attention.

“The process will be confidential because we do believe that is the best way to get the best candidates,” García said.

The last search, when Michelle King was named, was kept confidential. In the past, searches have been more open; one included a debate among the top three candidates. King announced in January she will leave the post by the end of June as she is battling cancer. The search firm agreed to conduct the search at no extra charge because it was within a two-year window.

The board is seeking a leader to run the second-largest school district in the nation that has more than 900 schools and 274 charter schools with more than 640,000 students extending over 720 square miles covering 31 cities. They want someone who will address “financial challenges including liability costs and structural deficits,” “chronic underfunding of California public schools,” and “lead a system of excellence from cradle to career.”

Desired characteristics for the job include being “bold and courageous — unafraid to make hard decisions” and “understand the financial challenges facing LAUSD and be committed to confronting them” as well as know Los Angeles. They also want someone who is a team builder and has “political acumen.”

• Read our series on the leadership LAUSD needs: commentaries from parent groups and education leaders locally and nationwide. 

* This article has been updated to add that the board expects to make its selection in April. 

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