Last month, Dr. Scott Scambray, Superintendent of the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, officially announced his retirement as of June 2021. Replacing the superintendent is a multi-step process that requires input from all internal and external stakeholders in the community.
The locally elected FJUHSD School Board hires the new Superintendent. All five Trustees, who represent over 13,600 students, their families, and the community, need to make sure this person’s values and vision align with and serve the current community needs. Trustees occupy a unique position as the communication conduit among stakeholders in developing a common vision focusing on an educational environment responsive to the needs of all students. Through stakeholder input they represent community concerns, priorities, and needs, in creating a district that supports successful, civically responsible, and highly educated graduates.
As the school district’s chief executive and administrative officer, the Superintendent represents and reflects the community’s educational priorities and culture. Hiring and annually reviewing the Superintendent is one of the most important jobs of a school board.
Community culture shifts over time and each superintendent brings changes to our local high schools that reflect our communal history, culture, and values. The Superintendent is responsible for creating and supporting an effective administrative team that is fiscally transparent, upholds the community’s values, and implements a curriculum that provides high quality education and aligns with all state and federal educational guidelines.
For many districts, the process begins with employing an executive search firm that specializes in educational administrator placements. At the regularly scheduled February 23, 2021 FJUHSD Board meeting, the Trustees listened to 3 firms present their process for finding qualified candidates for the Trustees to interview. With 4 of the 5 board members being new to the process of hiring a superintendent, they reviewed the multi-stage process that begins with a series of board member conferences and stakeholder input sessions to define the priorities for the new superintendent.
These priorities include prior instruction and administrative experience, vision for the district’s future, knowledge of the Fullerton community and culture, as well as personal values and characteristics. Internal stakeholders include any persons on campuses either as students or employees of the district. External stakeholders include parents and community members who are affected by FJUHSD’s reputation and legacy of high caliber graduates living in the larger community. FJUHSD has a national reputation and is well-known in Southern California for its student’s scholastic, artistic, and athletic achievements and community service.
After a round of internal and external input sessions that include focus groups and results of a survey which will be posted at http://www.fjuhsd.org, the Trustees will craft the professional employment posting that outlines the mission of the District and the stakeholder priorities determined necessary for the District to continue to grow and provide exceptional education for all students.
The executive search company will consult with the Trustees, conduct the focus groups, do background checks, and hone down the number of applicants based on how closely the applicants match the guidelines formed from the Trustee’s parameters.
After reviewing candidates’ qualifications, the Board conducts interviews. They may hold public review hearings and may call for public comments. The interviews are held in closed session and are not open to the public. Parents and other stakeholders do not participate in the actual interview process. The Trustees may choose to visit the applicant’s prior school district or bring the candidate out to visit FJUHSD.
The entire process should be concluded by late May or early June.
The next regular FJUHSD Board meeting is scheduled for March 9 at 6pm. A special meeting is scheduled for March 2 at 4pm.