Pleasanton's school board has coordinated a game plan to start the process of looking for superintendent candidates while also hiring its new coordinator of communications.
The board appointed Patrick Gannon as coordinator of communications and community engagement. Currently spokesman for the Alameda County Office of Education, Gannon will report for work in Pleasanton Jan. 11.
In its search for a new superintendent to succeed Parvin Ahmadi, who resigned last May to become Castro Valley's superintendent, the board hired Omaha-based McPherson & Jacobson to conduct the nationwide search.
In the meantime, former Amador Valley High principal Jim Hansen is filling in as interim superintendent. A new superintendent is expected to be named in April.
At its meeting last Tuesday, the school board decided to go ahead with the recommendation of McPherson & Jacobson to begin recruiting and to post advertising for the position on education associations' websites and job websites, such as EdJoin.com. The search firm will be paid $28,000 for its effort.
Board members shared their opinions on the best way to move forward when recruiting individuals for specialized candidate meetings with community groups.
Tom Jacobson of the search firm said the plan is to select 8-10 individuals from various stakeholder groups to represent teachers, administrative staff, classified staff and other internal employees, as well as community members.
Three open forums also will to be held with finalist candidates for any community members who want to ask questions of the candidates. The dates of those forums have not been set but are expected to be held in April.
Jacobson said he recommends making the final two or three candidates public, and candidates will remain private up until that point. However, he said he's willing to keep candidates private throughout the process if the board chooses.
He said making the finalists public in other searches he's completed did not appear to have an effect on candidates dropping out of the process.
"We think there's a time when the candidates should say, 'Yes, I'm a finalist for this district and am proud to be a candidate for this district,'" he said.
The board mulled over the idea of providing translation services for community group meetings and community forums and asked district staff to look into what resources the district has for those services.
The board also decided on core qualities to focus on when selecting the next superintendent, including a commitment to equity, soft skills including honesty and integrity, the ability to create high-functioning teams and prior superintendent experience.
The board also scheduled a special meeting on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. to meet with the search firm to discuss candidate interview questions, interview procedures, a compensation package and to identify individuals who will act as chairs for community meetings of various stakeholder groups.