During a FUESD board special meeting held May 11, the board of trustees voted to create a review panel to interview potential superintendents for the district. This panel will serve in addition to the professional search firm, Leadership Associates, which was hired after a March 13, 2023 meeting.
The district is looking to fill the superintendent position left vacant by Candace Singh, who left the district in November 2022. The board is planning to complete their search and hire a new superintendent by July 1. Currently, Cindi Martin, a 19-year FUESD employee, is serving as both interim superintendent and associate superintendent of business services, saving the district a significant amount of money.
The panel created and voted into existence on May 4, consisted of nine stakeholders and employees of the district, including one principal, one district cabinet/management team member, one leader from the teacher’s union, one leader from the classified union, one parent from PTA or PTSA, one representative from the District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC), one representative from Special Education (SPED), one representative from Migrant Education, and one representative from Extended Learning program (ELOP).
In addition to the employees of the district, the board members each were able to choose a person from the community to serve on the review panel, making an additional five members of the panel for a total of 14 panel members. However, according to the district, only four members turned in their community recommendation for the panel, making the final number 13.
The panel with mostly FUESD employees and stakeholders is a departure from prior years when a review panel would consist of parents, community members, business people and a prior FUESD employee.
Leadership Associates recruits, performs background checks, coordinates community response, gives weekly reports, goes through the interview process, and handles all the details up to bringing the superintendent on board.
The newly formed panel will interview possibly six or seven prospective people the same day as the FUESD board interviews them, but at different times. The questions asked of the prospective superintendents are provided by Learning Associates after sifting through community surveys.
The FUESD Board of Directors will make the final decision.
Learning Associates indicated the July 1 start date for a new superintendent was reasonable and they suggested individual community meetings with 8-10 groups.
Some of the qualities and skills the parents attending the board meetings have suggested they would like to see include someone who is bi-lingual and preferably Latino, since the majority of the elementary district students are Latino. Other parents stressed someone who treats all students fairly and is an independent decision maker, in case the state attempts to initiate controversial mandates again as with COVID-19.