The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) will begin soliciting community input in the search for a new superintendent beginning next week with an online survey that will be available March 6 through March 16.

The District will also be reaching out to various stakeholder groups identified by the Board of Education to participate in input sessions with the firm directing the search, Leadership Associates. This will include parents, students, staff, community leaders and other community partners according to a district spokesperson.

The Board finalized the details of the timeline for hiring a new superintendent at a special meeting last week. As previously anticipated, the District expects to hire to select and approve a candidate by June 1 with a start date of July 1.

Following the public input phase, Leadership Associates will put together a position description based on the characteristics and qualities the board and the SMMUSD community say they want in the new superintendent.

The firm will then identify potential candidates and advertise the position across various platforms including EdCal, an education-oriented newspaper. The deadline for applications will be April 4 at 5:00 pm. Leadership Associate consultants will conduct background and reference checks for all applicants before reviewing them with the board. The board will select several candidates to be interviewed in early May, select finalists and make a decision.

In the meantime, Mark Kelly will continue to serve as interim superintendent. He was appointed to the position following the departure of former superintendent Ben Drati in December.

Drati was hired in 2016 through a similar process also conducted by Leadership Associates. Peggy Lynch, who is serving as lead consultant and was also involved in that search, expressed confidence at the Feb 16 board meeting in the district being able to find a well-suited candidate.

“Despite challenges, it’s an attractive district – you’re successful in lots of things that you do and you’ve got incredible support around your community from parents and those kinds of things – so it’s an attractive job” she said.

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Grace Adams

Grace Adams is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University where she studied Spanish and journalism. She holds a Master’s degree in investigative journalism from City, University of London. She has experience...