BUSD Sets Dates for Superintendent Search Process

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday September 21, 2007

The first step for the selection of Berkeley’s next school superintendent will begin with a community meeting Monday. 

This week school board president Joa-quin Rivera announced schedules for different groups to meet with district consultants on Monday and Tuesday. 

Mission Viejo-based Leadership Associates was hired by the board for $29,000 to conduct the recruitment process less than a week after district superintendent Michele Lawrence announced her retirement earlier this month. She will leave the post Feb. 1. 

Parents, district employees, students and community members will be asked to identify characteristics, talents and experience they want to see in the future superintendent at a series of meetings scheduled to be held at different times during the two days. 

Community groups will meet primarily in the council chambers and the school district office conference room at the Old City Hall and at B-Tech. 

Schedules have also been set up for BUSD employees who will meet in the council chambers on both days.  

Those unable to attend specific meetings can attend a general meeting scheduled for Sept. 24 at 7:15 p.m. at B-Tech Academy, 2701 Martin Luther King Way., or on Tuesday Sept. 25 at 12:45 p.m. at the school district office conference room. The schedule will also be up on district website. 

Meeting notifications are being sent out through letters, emails, phone conversations and the local press. 

“We want to hear from all the voices of the community,” Rivera said. “The board hopes to interview finalists around Dec. 9 and soon after visit the district of the person. The advantage is we have the help of the current superintendent to help with the transition.” 

Lawrence said the district has enough time to find her replacement. 

“I want the community to know that,” she said. “All the time I legally need to give the board is 60 days. But I have given a six-month notice which is not a fast-track notice. It was done with a great deal of thought. I did not want to put the district into any kind of jeopardy.” 

She added that she would be acting only as an advisor in the recruitment process. 

“The search will provide an incredible value to bring the community together,” she said. “It will help to build a vision and see what common goals come out of the leadership.” 

Board member Nancy Riddle said the board also wanted to identify what kind of a person would not be a good fit for the district. 

At an earlier meeting, the consultants had told board members that although they could be present at the meetings they should refrain from participating in the discussions. 

Community members unable to attend assigned meetings or alternate sessions can send their suggestions to www.leadershipassociates.org or 23052-H Alicia Parkway, Mission Viejo, California. 


Transportation building resolution 

The board also passed a resolution stating that the district’s transportation buildings could not be used by faculty and students. BUSD is waiting to hear back from the city about the proposed transportation project on Gilman Street. 

Although it is not responsible for issuing permits, the Department of the State Architect (DSA) requires that the project be reviewed for access compliance. It also requires that a resolution be passed by the board which states that the building would not be used for classroom setups and that neither faculty nor students would be allowed to enter its premises. 

Although the district’s K-12 schools are built according to DSA specifications, the district owns certain buildings which are not retrofitted nor built according to its guidelines. Others include the sites at 1720 Oregon, 2031 6th Street and the district headquarters at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.