Frequently Asked Questions
Who is responsible for hiring the Superintendent?
Public school boards in California are responsible for selecting and employing a superintendent. The superintendent is the Board of Education's only employee.
Why is the Board utilizing a search firm?
Finding the right candidate to lead SRCS is one of the Board of Education's most important task. Throughout California and across the nation, school districts rely on search firms to provide them with process expertise and access to the best candidates. At its meeting on March 11, the Board selected
to advise the Board in the recruitment and selection process. Leadership Associates is a California executive search firm with a national reach that specializes in helping California school boards find new superintendents. Founded in 1996, Leadership Associates has assisted with 385 searches, more superintendent searches than any other search firm working in California. Approximately 90% of all new superintendents placed by Leadership Associates have remained in their positions for more than five years. Rich Thome and Kent Bechler, Ph.D. are the lead consultants for SRCS.
The search firm is helping to:
- Gather input from across the community
- Develop a position description
- Identify candidates through existing networks and advertisements in relevant publications
- Bring forward candidates for consideration
- Support the interview process
Utilizing a search firm best enables the Board of Education to leverage a vast network to find the right candidate that best meets the position description developed for San Rafael City School's Superintendent.
Who is on the Board Subcommittee?
To support the process while abiding by the Brown Act, the Board has appointed Vice President Maika Llorens Gulati and Trustee Linda Jackson to serve on a Board subcommittee. Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Amy Buster Baer is the staff liaison for the process.
What is the timeline for the search process?
The Board of Education is going to take the time necessary to ensure the selection of the best leader for SRCS. At this time, the Board has established a timeline that has interviews of finalist candidates scheduled on May 29 and tentative contract approval in June for a July 1 or mutually agreed upon start date.
Click here to download the timeline
, which is subject to change. Furthermore, the Board has the option to decide, if the search process is not on track to find the right leader, to appoint an interim superintendent and conduct and/or complete a search next year.
How can I be involved in the process?
The Board of Education believes that the involvement and engagement of the entire SRCS community is critical to the success of the search and they are using a variety of approaches to involve the greater community in the process.
Focus Groups and Community Sessions
On March 26 - 27, Leadership Associates facilitated 27 sessions, including focus groups and Open Sessions, t
o receive input about the desired qualities and characteristics of the next Superintendent. There were sessions in English and Spanish throughout the District for students, teachers, staff, families, labor management leaders, District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC), community partners and others.
Online Survey - Closes April 5
There is also an online survey that is available for the greater community until Friday, April 5 at 5 pm to give feedback.
Members of the public can also send written responses to Leadership Associates or request to speak with a consultant by sending an email to
What comes of the information collected in the community engagement?
Leadership Associates gathers data from all the input and feedback collected in person and via the online survey. They prepare a thorough report containing the comments from each group, individuals and the survey, and send it to Board members. Furthermore, they closely review the data, looking for trends and synthesize the results to create a Leadership Position Description, which is reviewed and approved by the Board. The Leadership Position Description is used widely in the advertising and recruitment process.
How are applicants screened?
After Leadership Associates actively recruits and receives applications, they will engage in an extensive and thorough review of each applicant's qualifications and references. They pay particular attention to how applicants match the profile the School Board developed based on community input. Leadership Associates then meets with the School Board to review and discuss all applicants using an executive summary specific to each candidate. Leadership Associates will recommend candidates to be considered by the Board for an interview that are believed to be excellent matches for San Rafael City Schools. The Board of Education will make the final decision on which candidates will be interviewed.
Who will be interviewing the finalists?
The five members of the Board of Education will serve as a panel in interviewing all finalists. The Board has chosen to gain further input from the greater San Rafael City Schools community by inviting a representative cross-section of stakeholders to serve on a community panel to interview finalists. To ensure the confidentiality of the applicants, all panelists will sign confidentiality agreements. Panelist names will not be made public, but the constituency they represent will be shared.
The community panel interviews will coincide with the interviews that the Board is conducting, on the same day and at the same location to maximize confidentiality. The panelists will share their feedback with the Board. The School Board is responsible for selecting the next superintendent.
How is confidentiality being handled?
Leadership Associates strongly believes the quality of the applicant pool is directly dependent on the confidentiality of the process. The Board has greatly considered Leadership Associates' experience and expertise and has decided to conduct a "closed," confidential search. Leadership Associates will not divulge the names of interested applicants to any party other than the Board within Closed Session. As previously described, those participating on the community panel for finalist interviews will sign confidentially agreements.
What if the search doesn't yield a viable candidate?
In the event that the School Board decides that the initial search did not yield a viable candidate, the Board has the option to appoint an interim superintendent and continue the search for a candidate who is considered a match for the position. This rarely happens. San Rafael City Schools is considered to be a great opportunity for superintendent candidates and we expect a very competitive group of candidates to participate in the interview process.