The pool of applicants for the position of principal at Berkeley High School is not strong enough to warrant moving forward with the interview process, according to a selection committee composed of staff and community members.
The determination will, at the least, delay the installation of a new principal and may lead to the consideration of alternative administrative models, said Superintendent Michele Lawrence. Either way, said Lawrence, the district will handle the fallout.
“I’m not disheartened,” she said. “It’s just a little setback.” A team of four co-principals have run the high school since October when then-principal Frank Lynch left to take a job as Superintendent of the Del Norte County Unified School District.
Lawrence said the school could continue with an unorthodox leadership model. She said an alternative look might make more sense in the long-term anyhow since the district is weighing a move, at some point, to a series of small schools at BHS.
But an alternative model is not the only possibility, Lawrence said. Berkeley Unified might simply pursue new avenues in locating a principal – hiring a consulting firm to drum up applicants or going national with its own search.
“We could push harder (nationally) knowing the California pool is weak,” she said.
Lawrence said the national search could entail contact with national trade organizations like the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, both based in Virginia.
“I think we do have to do an aggressive national search and get some candidates and have a choice,” said Board of Education member John Selawsky.
But Selawsky added that he has been pleased with the work of the co-principals this year and could envision a continuation of the current model.
Board president Shirley Issel said she was not concerned about BHS faltering if there is a delay in finding a new principal.
“I really have confidence in Michele’s leadership and the leadership at the high school,” she said.
The deadline for applications was Friday and the district received 10-12 submissions, Lawrence said. The superintendent would not say if any of the applicants were current district employees.
Lawrence said that, while the overall pool was too weak “to warrant an extensive interview process,” the district may eventually decide to interview some of the individuals who applied by Friday.