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FUESD board wants new superintendent by July 1

Rick Monroe

Special to the Village News

The process for selecting a new superintendent for the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District is beginning. Following board direction at its Feb. 6 meeting, Interim Superintendent Cindi Martin selected two search firms to make presentations at its Feb. 27 meeting.

The board will likely decide between those companies – McPherson & Jacobson and Leadership Associates – at its March 13 meeting.

The former superintendent, Dr. Candace Singh, resigned in November. Suzanne Lundin, then board president, explained the board made a nearly $400,000 settlement with Singh to end what would have been an expensive legal battle.

The new board – including three newcomers elected in November – said they would like a new superintendent in place by July 1.

That will also likely be an expensive process. The price quoted by McPherson & Jacobson was $19,800. Leadership Associates’ price was $25,500.

During public comments, speakers suggested the board consider a consultant instead – costing as low as $5,000 – but the board did not respond.

The firms would meet with the board to develop a timeline, recruit, do background checks, coordinate community response, give weekly reports, go through the interview process, and handle all the details up to bringing the superintendent on board.

The two firms made their presentations and answered questions from the board at the Feb. 27 meeting. Both said selecting a superintendent was one of the most important responsibilities of a board.

McPherson & Jacobson went first, with representative Ben Johnson of Riverside saying they offer a two-year warranty and would match another company’s bid. They anticipated 25-30 candidates and would recommend 8-10 from that group for further review before the board interviewing 4-6 candidates. They indicated the July 1 start date for a new superintendent was reasonable and they suggested individual community meetings with 8-10 groups.

McPherson & Jacobson, L.L.C. has been conducting national searches for governing boards since 1991. The firm has placed over 940 superintendents and other officials in public and nonprofit organizations across the U.S. It has more than 130 consultants across the nation.

The Leadership Associates presentation was made by Rich Chavez and Peggy Lynch, who both live in San Clemente. They said they were two of the 14 partners in the company, which handles 67% of the superintendent job searches in the state.

Chavez said that being Hispanic was an advantage in finding candidates and communicating with the community.

Their report included a suggested timeline to meet the July 1 goal. They also offered a two-year guarantee, explaining that if the new hire left, they would not charge for a new search.

Both firms said they not only search for potential matches for the district, but that they often know of potential candidates through their personal contacts and their representatives.

Both companies cited their local familiarity as a strong point. The detailed reports from the two firms are available on the district web page under the board agenda for the Feb. 27 meeting, below Board Operations,


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