Tough timing for superintendent search |

Tough timing for superintendent search

William Ferchland

In a time past the prime hiring season and an era of a dwindling supply of superintendents, a selection to replace Diane Scheerhorn could take a year, officials said.

Scheerhorn will leave her post of superintendent of Lake Tahoe Unified School District on Sept. 2, five days before the start of the school year, to work in Southern California. Wendy David, president of the district’s school board, said she would like an interim superintendent chosen by the end of next month.

Spring is usually the time to search for applicants. When Rich Alexander left the superintendent post in spring of 2000, the district hired an executive search firm through the California School Board Association to find a replacement.

Richard Loveall, director of executive search services for state school board association, said the cost of his services for finding a replacement is $15,000 plus $5,000 for expenses such as mailings.

A search usually takes three to four months and will lure about 25 to 30 applicants, Loveall said, citing a 60 percent drop in applicants from a decade ago.

He attributed stress and long work hours to the decline.

“People are reluctant to go into school administration now,” he said.

Assistant Superintendent Barbara Davis was tapped as interim superintendent when Alexander departed. Davis, who has been with the district for seven years, said it’s the board’s decision whom to make interim superintendent. She was intrigued by the superintendent opening but mentioned she would wait until the board releases specifics.

“Yes I’m interested but I don’t know what I’m interested in,” Davis said.

Many have called for a consolidation of the two superintendent positions to save money. Vicki Barber, superintendent of El Dorado County schools, advised against the proposal, saying LTUSD is big enough and education mandates are strict enough to warrant the two jobs.

The board’s next meeting date, Aug. 10, will offer an opportunity to discuss options and what path the district will take in the hiring process.

“We don’t want to rush into it,” David said.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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