Rowland Unified School District

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Rowland Unified begins search for new superintendent

Rowland Unified begins search for new superintendent

Superintendent Ruben Frutos listens to students during Rowland Unified School District’s board meeting on March 4, 2014. The Rowland Unified school board officially began the process of finding a new superintendent for the district Tuesday. Sarah Reingewirtz — Staff photographer

The Rowland Unified school board on Tuesday officially began the process of finding a new leader for the 14,500-student district — possibly the first time in its history such a search has been orchestrated.

Such a move is a reversal from a decision made one year ago to appoint business manager Ruben Frutos as superintendent. The surprise appointment precipitated protests, pickets and demands from teachers, parents and community members to hold a proper search for a new superintendent.

That demand was met Tuesday, when the board directed its staff to bring a list of consultants forward at a special board meeting set for April 17.

At the upcoming meeting, the board will hear pitches from search firms and pick one to begin gathering resumes.

“This is important work. I will cancel what I was to be speaking at. We need to get this done,” said board President Heidi Gallegos, who cleared her schedule in order to attend the special meeting.

At least four executive search firms have already answered a request sent out by the Rowland Unified School District more than a week ago, announced Douglas Staine, RUSD assistant superintendent for human resources.

While he couldn’t guess how many firms would apply for the work, Staine said it could be more than 20. They have until Friday.

Only a firm with experience helping a school district pick a new leader will be considered, Gallegos said.

“A professional firm should have experience, particularly with good community engagement,” she said after the two-hour meeting. Once a consultant is chosen, the firm will work directly with the board in gathering resumes and soliciting input from teachers, parents and community members, she said.

She wants to see the community be able to directly email the search consultant with questions or suggestions, she said.

Angela Pride was elected to the board in November on a platform of open government and going back to an open search for a new superintendent.

“I am glad we are going ahead with the search. We will make it as transparent as possible,” said Pride, who along with Gallegos make up the subcommittee that will vet the search consultants. The board will pick a consultant on April 17.

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