School board talks next steps in superintendent search

Recruitment to begin this month; goal is for new hire to start job July 1

At a special meeting Tuesday evening, the Pleasanton school board and members of the recently hired executive search firm discussed how the district will proceed with finding its new superintendent.

The planned next steps are laid out in a calendar prepared by Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, the Palo-Alto based firm selected to run the search for the next superintendent.

The search calendar calls for the new superintendent to be appointed at the June 13 regular board meeting and start on the job July 1 -- the first day of the 2017-18 school year.

The specific dates in the timeline are tentative, PUSD spokesman Patrick Gannon said Wednesday. The board did not take any official action during Tuesday's meeting, merely reviewing the recommended timeline.

The formal recruitment process is set to begin later this month, with screening interviews slated for the end of April. At closed-session meetings in early May, the board will be presented with the top candidates and conduct first interviews.

The board will conduct second interviews in mid-May. A group of community members yet to be determined will also meet with top candidates.

On May 23, 24 or 25, the board will visit the final candidate's current place of employment.

The search firm will conduct an in-depth background check of the finalist, which will include review of media coverage and social media presence over the last five years in addition to checking their criminal and credit history, credentials and references, Gannon said.

The previous search firm McPherson and Jacobson -- whose recruitment led to the hiring last spring of since-ousted superintendent Rick Rubino -- did not review media or social media presence as part of their work, according to their contract.

To get community input, the district is set to post a survey online that will be open to all residents from March 14-31.

The consultants also plan to meet with identified citizens and community groups to get feedback on what qualities they'd like to see in the next superintendent. That feedback, along with survey results, will be folded into a leadership profile report to be presented to the board April 18.

Tuesday's timeline update followed the board's decision last month to award a contract for $26,000 plus expenses to Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to run the search for PUSD's next leader.

The new recruitment comes in the wake of the board terminating Rubino as superintendent for undisclosed reasons in January after just over six months on the job. Micaela Ochoa, who had been deputy superintendent of business services, is serving as interim superintendent through June 30.


10 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2017 at 11:17 am

So is the school board ever going to discuss refunding the close to now $300,000 of our tax dollars that they've wasted on this continuing debacle?

Gross incompetence and a disgusting mess. How nice/convenient that it all played out AFTER last November's election.

Can't wait for the next round of PPIE and/or PUSD sticking their hands out at registration asking "please give us more $$$ to help the schools out."

Ah, no thanks--I have zero interest in paying for Rubino's severance package, or now to another search firm because of the debacle you created.

Everyone involved in Rubino's hire should resign.

4 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm

I also wonder if people are aware that the school board is retaining the exact same search firm that found Mr. Casey's short-live successor, Parvin Ahmadi.

See: Web Link


Want more?

Per the PW article from January 18,

(see: Web Link)

"Trustees were in agreement that they did not want to use McPherson & Jacobson's services again despite a guarantee from the firm that it would conduct a new search at no additional charge should their candidate leave within two years.

The firm's owner also offered to personally handle the search in lieu of using the same consultants, [School board president Joan] Laursen said.

Trustee Jamie Hintzke said she worked closely with the search firm's consultants as board president at the time, referencing unhappiness and "their unprofessionalism” without going into specifics.

“It was completely frustrating,” Hintzke said of her dealings with the consultants."

That said, why in the world with anyone with any common sense have continued using the firm that eventually presented Mr. Rubino to the board, who was then fired by that same board?

More brilliance.

As the PW first said in its January 13 editorial, the Pleasanton School Board continues to be a "trainwreck".

See: Web Link

Quoting from that editorial, "The Pleasanton school board had an opportunity to build back the trust of the public and prove to voters they made a good choice retaining two incumbents in the recent election."

They have not.

What the entire board has proved is that they're brilliant at exemplifying incompetence.

Please resign (starting with Hintzke), or at the very least, REFUND the TAXPAYERS our $300,000 (and counting) that you have WASTED.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 9, 2017 at 3:48 pm

"What the entire board has proved is that they're brilliant at exemplifying incompetence." Excellent, can we expect to see you on the next election cycle running for school board? The job is easy and I'm sure you will nail it. But, you have to use your real name instead of running anonymously.

7 people like this
Posted by Mirror, Mirror
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 9, 2017 at 5:55 pm

I just read the editorial in the Pleasanton Weekly that came out this afternoon as well as the Independent. What comes to the surface particularly from the Pleasanton Weekly article this week on the baffling "Safe Haven" political proclamation is that Pleasanton Unified is not governed by a true Board, but that the entire Board and management is so devoid of talent and leadership ability, they can come up with *no* original ideas. Instead, the staff takes 'templates' from other Districts, in particular, Palo Alto Unified School District, and modifies them to politicize them with some sort of anarchist/partisan bent to it.

Here are the takeaways:

1. Since Pleasanton Unified leadership is not really interested in any original ideas, the job posting for the new superintendent should simply state that the role really is a pure figurehead position where PUSD will simply copy what Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) has done in a combination with orders from the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee and Karen Monroe, Alameda County superintendent.

2. Since Pleasanton Unified in the Independent seems to refer to something called a "listening campaign" the Pleasanton Unified job posting should tell it like it is and define that "listening campaign" is not actually meeting with stakeholders, members of the community, or students (because there are no actual proposed meetings anyone can ever remember being announced) but these "listening campaigns" are really the staff and Board taking direction from the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee and Karen Monroe, Alameda County superintendent.

3. The Pleasanton Weekly article indicates the Board is not actually governing anything or creating action items or doing any actionable activities. It just makes political proclamations copied from other neighboring Districts.

Take any staff report supposedly produced by PUSD staff and Google a few phrases in quotation marks. What you will find is that they are simply lifting some text from some other set of Districts and copying their work. BUT in fact, it is almost a near copy of some other District's work or study or resolution.

Sad, but true.

2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Mar 9, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Taxpayer, A few corrections. This is not the same team, although it is the same firm. The team includes someone who knows our community. And the board *cannot* blame HYA after keeping Ahmadi for five years. The search firm for Rubino did not recommend or encourage a visit to his district. While the visits can be expensive if the district is far away, it is imperative that at least some board members, unions reps, and parent/community members go and be allowed free access to employees and others in that candidate's community. You learn things when you aren't shuttled through the host district like a cue at Disneyland. Most people know if a candidate is well liked, you will hear great things. And if they don't like the candidate, they will say great things in order to get rid of them. I think that visit is necessary this time, and that it cannot be scripted.

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Mar 9, 2017 at 7:48 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Mirror, The board did not use the PAUSD version, or any part of it. I believe someone else indicated the template was from Antioch; but others have said it was out of Sacramento. In some parts, I wish they had used PAUSD's. We could do worse than model some of what happens in that district (but not all).

I attended one of the listening events that brought us Rubino at PMS. I am interested in what is happening in PUSD, so I keep track. However, that meetings was well attended and with some powerhouse people.

I would appreciate if you could provide links to the articles or to the source of the cut and paste work. I am concerned that our staff reports do not provide adequate information, and I don't think our board is raising their expectations of staff, although some try and are often not supported by others.

I would encourage two things: ask for the weekly memo to the board. There is a lot of information in those documents the public should follow. It is a public records act request. I asked they be posted online and Rubino agreed . . . But of course he isn't there and so the request died. Second would be to watch a PAUSD board meeting. I did it for over 11 years. You will see the board does not let staff slide and the community is present and vocal. We could learn from that as well.

2 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2017 at 11:53 am

To "Joe", like you're "using your real name instead of running anonymously"? Yeah, right. Spare me the hypocrisy.

To Kathleen, thanks for the input. I voted for you for school board, and am disappointed that you missed being elected by a very narrow margin. Would vote for you again if you choose to run in 2 years when seats are up again.

I hope the current board takes your suggestions this go 'round. This revolving door at PUSD needs to stop.

2 people like this
Posted by Cardboard Cutout
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Considering the District seems to near copy Albany's Superintendent so that they can use her exact words in PUSD Communications such as "The peaceful transition of power is a cornerstone of our constitutional democracy" in their press releases relating the inauguration as in this video message originally from Albany in January 2017

Web Link

why not just save the money from hiring another superintendent and place some cardboard cutout in place of an actual person at PUSD? A cardboard cutout is much cheaper than the District pays for salaries, termination payouts, search firms, etc. and the law firms and lawsuits related to its miserable personnel decisions and wrongful termination choices.

2 people like this
Posted by Cardboard Cutout
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2017 at 5:35 pm

[Removed because it was not relevant]

Having looked at the other thread on Rubino, I wonder whether there has been a concerted planned effort to get rid of all the male employees PUSD. Have you looked at the number of male science and math teachers quitting or resigning at year end?

Demeanor is not grounds for termination. Also saying to someone that they look young compared to their actual age is not grounds for termination.

Perhaps Rubino was looking up and down to read incoming messages on an iPhone; however, the employee who complained has not produced any witnesses nor is there any video or audio to support her allegations.

Since she qualifies her statement regarding her outrage of being supposedly treated in a "disrespectful" manner by someone of such "stature," her implication as I am interpreting it is that she believes she is routinely ogled at by males who are students (preschool to grade 12 apparently) and her male co-workers.

She references disrespectful glances, stares and inappropriate comments that she states is part of her everyday experience working at PUSD. Since in her choice of words, this presumably 45 year old + female seems to me to imply that youth in her classrooms seem to be glancing and staring at her in some sort of sexual manner and also subjecting her to inappropriate remarks, that seems very odd.

Very very odd when combined with male domination talk.

Can the Pleasanton Weekly check into records from Gridley to determine if Rubino ever had a complaint against him? Or Martinez? Or Fremont?

If not, why is this female employee actually still in the classroom any why hasn't she put on leave. Has she filed multiple complaints to HR?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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