School board to select supe-search firm | News | Palo Alto Online |


School board to select supe-search firm

Four companies to present Tuesday night

After hearing public presentations Tuesday night from four search firms, the school board plans to select a company to oversee its search for a new superintendent.

Four firms that submitted proposals to the district will attend Tuesday's special meeting: Ray and Associates; Leadership Associates; Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates; and McPherson & Jacobson. Each firm will present for 15 to 20 minutes and then take questions from the board, including questions received through a public email address and from the district's teachers and classified employee unions.

After the presentations, there will be time for public comment.

The board aims to select a firm by the end of the meeting and approve a contract at its next regular meeting on Dec. 5. Board members are aiming to hire a permanent replacement for former superintendent Max McGee, who resigned suddenly in September, by July.

The board asked each firm to answer a series of questions in writing before Tuesday or at the meeting, including on the companies' previous superintendent searches, both successful and unsuccessful; their work in California and nationwide; their processes for identifying and recruiting candidates; and what they see as the district's "biggest challenge" in filling the superintendent position.

Leadership Associates conducted the last two superintendent searches in Palo Alto Unified, resulting in the hiring of McGee in 2014 and his predecessor, Kevin Skelly, in 2007.

McPherson & Jacobson, which is based in Nebraska, represents the California School Boards Association in superintendent searches. 

The Illinois-based Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, has conducted searches for nearby districts. McGee is now employed there as the firm's new Midwest president, but board members said at a previous meeting they didn't think this constituted a conflict of interest.

Ray and Associates, based in Iowa, does less work in California, but has conducted searches for some Bay Area districts.

Tuesday's meeting will run from 5-10 p.m. at the district office, 25 Churchill Ave. View the full agenda here.


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7 people like this
Posted by Leader Who?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Why would we ever want to do business with a company that gave us Skelly and McGee?
Why wouldn't we send them to Siberia?

5 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 28, 2017 at 3:24 pm

The search firm just serves up the candidate. It's the board that does the picking. Don't blame Bloomingdale's if you don't like the sweater you bought.

3 people like this
Posted by @ Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2017 at 5:56 pm

@ Parent:
If Bloomingdale's were selling only ugly sweaters, I would go to another store and hope they have a different selection...

Like this comment
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2017 at 6:07 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

"A consultant at Leadership Associates, the firm the district hired to conduct the superintendent search, personally knows McGee and suggested they look at him as a candidate."

Web Link

10 people like this
Posted by Former Paly Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 28, 2017 at 6:34 pm

After what the public and press have done to former superintendents, why would ANYONE even consider applying for this position - no matter high the salary and extra bonuses?

Just think of how hard it was on the families of these past superintendents.

Why would anyone WANT to relocate their family to an area with ultra mean, hyper critical, overly rich, unappreciative, know-it-all parents who are unforgiving..

I feel that the best superintendents will stay put in their lovely communities, where they are happy.

The smart ones know better.

6 people like this
Posted by Don't Cry for Past Superintendents
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 28, 2017 at 9:18 pm

Don't Cry for Past Superintendents is a registered user.

@Former Paly Mom - "Why would anyone WANT to relocate their family..."

Because they make a lot of money. They make it even if they are fired. Former Superintendent McGee lived in free housing and had a generous car and phone allowance his entire time in Palo Alto. His car allowance alone was more than many aides in his employ earned. He received a negotiated severance package. Have no worries about his welfare. He already earned a $300k a year pension from his previous employment, and now has another job as Midwest President at Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates conducting Superintendent searches.

He was not run out of town by upset parents (who, among other things, were upset over total lack of progress in minority and disabled performance despite massive financial spending, bullying of the disabled so they could not attend school, and what is termed sexual abuse but what many of us would consider rapes of children at school, sometimes by their own teachers).

Instead, he was given multiple warnings by the Board his performance had to change. It didn't. In fact the issues became worse with him making no successful attempt to address them. At the point it was clear he had no control over his staff and PAUSD became a media circus obviously not protecting it's children, the Board ushered him out with a generous severance package.

Like this comment
Posted by local yokel
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 29, 2017 at 8:20 am

Why don't they just promote Scott Bowers into the position, which they should have done 10 years ago and saved all the time and money on searches? He's the best person for the job. He knows the district extremely well and is capable of bringing all parties to the table. He has both the educational background as well as the institutional wisdom. PAUSD should promote from within.

2 people like this
Posted by kids
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 29, 2017 at 8:26 am

I think they should let kindergarteners decide and then donate the money they would waste on scholarship funds. Kindergarteners can tell who is good and who is not. Take a chance. Candidates can not bribe with treats though or extra recess, Kinders like to network too and will take bribes an favors.

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