La Habra School District establishes timeline for hiring new superintendent
By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal
The La Habra City School District board appointed Karen Kinney as acting Superintendent last week.
According to John Dobson, president of the LHCSD board, Kinney will be in place until the interim superintendent is appointed.
The board is set to name an interim Superintendent at its meeting on August 11, with a start date of August 22.
The interim superintendent will take over district operations while a search for the permanent replacement continues.
Dr. Susan Belenardo, who has served as superintendent of the LHCSD for the last 14 years submitted her resignation in July and her final day is August 5.
The board named Kinney as the acting top administrator to help with the transition. Dobson acknowledged that Kinney already has a great deal of responsibility within the district and would not be in the acting position long.
In an effort to assist in the search, the board has hired Leadership Associates, a La Quinta-based executive search firm that specializes in finding school district superintendents.
The consultants have worked with the LHCSD board of directors to establish a timeline for the search and hiring of the new superintendent. The proposed timeline calls for a new superintendent to be in place by January or February 2017.
According to the proposed timeline, consultants from Leadership Associates will meet with district staff as well as community and civic leaders that are designated by the board to receive input on key qualities and characteristics desired in the new superintendent. Online surveys will be conducted and will run through October 1.
“Leadership Associates will get information from community stakeholders,” Dobson said.
He suggested that stakeholders could include the teachers, city leaders and the various PTAs to name a few.
He explained that they will be seeking input on what these stakeholders will want to see in the new superintendent.
The consultants will then communicate their findings to the board.
Dobson explained that input from outside the board on the desired qualifications and expectations of the new superintendent is vital and will help the district move forward.
After receiving the input from the consultants, the board will approve the position description, and it will be sent out to the various recruiting and employment outlets.
Application deadlines are set for November.
With the general elections in November and two of the five seats up for grabs, the current board members and consultants scheduled the time to review applications and selection of finalists to be after the new board is sworn in on December 8.
Dobson reiterated the importance of the new board do the hiring of the new superintendent.
Leadership Associates will conduct the initial paper screening of the applications and background checks by December.
Consultants will meet with the board in a closed meeting and will discuss the applicants. Finalists will then be selected.
Dobson cautioned that the timeframe could change a bit because of the Christmas holiday and various vacation plans.
Final interviews of the candidates are scheduled to take place in January, and the new superintendent will start shortly thereafter.