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Consultants meet with groups about superintendent replacement

Rick Monroe

Special to the Village News

Consultants helping the board find a new superintendent for the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District have been busy meeting with school and district staff, as well as community members, for the past two weeks. They are on a tight timeline with the goal of having the new leader of the area's largest employer on board by July 1.

At a town hall meeting on April 12, about 35 people attended a casual meeting to discuss what the community wanted to see in a new superintendent. The event and an online survey have been promoted on the district's web page. The deadline to complete the survey was April 15.

The consultants, Rich Chavez and Peggy Lynch of Leadership Associates, made a brief presentation and welcomed questions at the town hall meeting. There were questions and discussion on topics like the district's dual immersion program, the need to seek input from the Latino community, and if the new superintendent would receive the same salary as former superintendent Dr. Candace Singh. She represented one of the smallest districts in the county but earned one of the highest salaries.

Chavez said the salary amount was up to the school board, but that he would be giving the members a report of superintendent salaries throughout the state and he was sure the new person would start much lower than Singh's $387,433.76 salary after 11 years with the district.

In the last two weeks, Chavez and Lynch said they met with school staff, the district cabinet and principals, union representatives, civic groups, faith-based leaders, and many others to learn about the community concerns and what they wanted to see in the new hire – in order to help identify the top selections for the school board to consider.

They also placed an ad in EdCal, a web page advertising platform, and expect multiple applicants by the April 21 deadline. The consultants said they have begun making comprehensive reference and background checks on the applicants.

On May 11 at 5 p.m., the consultants will give a report to the board, which is tasked to select candidates to be interviewed. This will be done in a closed session that should last about three hours.

Then on May 20, the board is expected to meet all day in closed session to interview the finalists and select the new superintendent. If that schedule is true as projected, the board is expected to approve the superintendent's contract at its regular board meeting on June 5 – making the July 1 deadline as a start date.

Leadership Associates was awarded a $25,500 contract to help the board select Singh's replacement at the March 13 board meeting.

Board members Dr. Stacey McRae, president, Suzanne Lundin, Mary McBride, Ricardo Favela and Diane Sebalj have said the selection of the right superintendent is the most important decision they will make as trustees.


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