The Santa Monica-Malibu school district is seeking input from stakeholders as it launches a search for a new superintendent.

Consultants hired by the district will host meetings Thursday afternoon in Santa Monica and Malibu to collect feedback from parents, teachers students and community members on the qualities and background they’d like to see in a top administrator as well as the district’s strengths and challenges in the coming years.

The local Board of Education recently named Chris King and Sylvia Rousseau to serve as interim co-superintendents for the rest of the calendar year while the district looks for Sandra Lyon’s long-term replacement. Lyon left June 30 to become superintendent of the Palm Springs Unified School District after five years at the helm of SMMUSD.

The district has asked Leadership Associates to assist with the search, which will include active recruitment in July and August and an application deadline of mid-September. Candidates are expected to be interviewed in October, and the school board aims to approve the selected superintendent’s contract in November. The district’s new chief will start in January.

The meetings will begin at 4:30 p.m. and last approximately an hour. The Santa Monica meeting will be held at the John Muir Elementary School cafeteria (2526 6th St.). The Malibu meeting will be held at Malibu High School (30215 Morning View Drive). Spanish translators will attend both sessions.

An online survey will be open for comments through today.

“The advisors will compile a report of comments received during the community input sessions and from the survey results and share with the board to be used to guide the development of the recruitment brochure, the recruitment process, reference checking and ultimately the selection of a candidate,” reads an SMMUSD press release.

The meetings come at a pivotal juncture for the district, which is overseeing millions of dollars in bond-backed upgrades to facilities and technology while dealing with longstanding academic achievement gaps, ongoing budgetary concerns and litigation over chemical remediation in Malibu, where activists are calling for the creation of a separate Malibu school district.

Separation talks

Negotiations continue this week between representatives on the committee to explore possible separation of the school district into two distinct entities.

Thursday night’s meeting at Malibu City Hall will include a status report on the committee’s contract with Procopio, a law firm hired to assist with the talks.

Santa Monica representative Tom Larmore said the agreement was signed by the appropriate parties last month.

“Those of us on the Santa Monica side look forward to continuing the negotiations with the Malibu representatives in the cordial and collaborative manner that has developed over the last few weeks,” he said.

The meeting will also include a presentation by officials from School Services of California, another consultant in the negotiations.

The school board last year approved guidelines for talks that would allow representatives from Santa Monica and Malibu to explore financial, legal and other ramifications of a potential split.