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Santa Clara Unified Begins Search for Interim Superintendent

Superintendent Dr. Stella Kemp has resigned from Santa Clara Unified School District. Now, the Board of Trustees is searching for her replacement.

 

Superintendent Search

The process of finding an Interim Superintendent begins after news of Superintendent Dr. Kemp’s resignation. Dr. Kemp informed the Board of her departure on June 24, and it will be effective on July 1. The Interim Superintendent will be in place until SCUSD hires a new Superintendent.

“The board is committed to identifying an interim as quickly as possible, and we will keep the community informed at every step of this process,” the District said in a statement. They continue to say that Dr. Kemp will work as a Superintendent on Special Assignment to assist in the transition, as needed.

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The Board has been evaluating the Superintendent’s performance since their April 28 meeting, when the Laurelwood Elementary School Principal search got contentious with the community. All these discussions were in Closed Session, so it isn’t known what exactly was discussed.

During Closed Session at the special meeting on Wednesday, June 29, Board President Jodi Muirhead reported that they “received information” and discussed the appointment of an Interim Superintendent but did not discuss the appointment of a Superintendent. They did not announce an Interim Superintendent.

A couple of community members called into the meeting to talk about this transition period and the Superintendent search.

“We ask that you keep three leadership qualities in mind,” said Margie Wysocki, UTSC Vice President. “One we need a leader who can reestablish trust and rebuild relationships. Two, we need someone who will commit to a shared decision-making model and who values labor management partnerships where are all stakeholders are heard, valued and supported. Finally, we need a good communicator.”

Kristin Gonzalez, Principal of Wilcox High School, said “You should own some responsibility for this situation that we’re in and I’d you to take some time to reflect on that.” Gonzalez asked that the Board not undo the good work that’s been done over the last three years. To keep the things that work like Vision 2035.

So, the search continues. Muirhead said that there will be another special meeting, presumably to continue these discussions, but they will also most likely be in Closed Session.

 

Equitable Grading Consultant

Board Vice President Vickie Fairchild pulled a Consultant Agreement Renewal with Crescendo Education Group from the last meeting’s consent calendar and the Board asked for more information on the Equitable Grading Professional Learning and Coaching agreement.

At this meeting, the Board debated the cost of the contract ($120,000) when the District is expected to go into deficit spending and there’s a possible recession looming over their heads.

Fairchild said they shouldn’t go to the most expensive consultants for this kind of work, even though it is very valuable. She also pointed out that the County of Santa Clara offers a free online course on Equitable Grading.

Board Member Jim Canova wanted to hit the pause button and wait for the Interim Superintendent. He also said, “We need to learn how to say ‘no.’” Board Member Dr. Michele Ryan countered. She said has been voting ‘no’ on other things, but supports Equitable Grading because it directly benefits the students.

The agreement with Crescendo Education Group passed 5 – 2, with Canova and Fairchild voting no.

Brad Stam, Chief Academic and Innovation Officer, is committed to making sure the District and the participating teachers get the most out of the program and will review the program at the end of the year. He believes that they will need about three years until the program is at critical mass.

The program has 20 teachers returning from last year and 40 new teachers.

The next regular meeting is on Thursday, August 11. But the Board may have another special meeting before then, presumably to continue the hiring process for an Interim Superintendent.

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6 Comments
  1. Concerned Teacher 2 months ago
    Reply

    The School Board has removed our Superintendent without a plan. For WHAT? And they failed to put in place an interim Superintendent. They felt it necessary to talk for 30 minutes about a consultant and how expensive it is, while they spend money on an interim Superintendent, the past Superintendent and hopefully a new Superintendent. All of this to appease Laurelwood and UTSC leadership. THIS is not good for students or staff, just their egos and the inflated, entitled egos of the UTSC “leadership”. This is not collaboration or LMI.

  2. Parent 2 months ago
    Reply

    We don’t know what is talked about in closed session! I am assuming that the board is doing everything they can to save money as was evidenced by the discussion in open session. From the letter that was sent to parents it states that Kemp resigned. Perhaps it is Kemp that is appeasing Laurelwood parents and UTSC by resigning. Or maybe Kemp is resigning because she is just not fit for the job. I guess we will never know.

  3. Adam Minh 2 months ago
    Reply

    During these three years, the Superintendent has done a remarkable job stabilizing the situation and concerns with COVID and keeping the district future focused. She should not have had to deal with all the turmoil of the school board, the inflated egos of UTSC leadership (as a previous commenter wrote), and the crazy politics. The trustees of the school board absolutely have to take responsibilities for their part. They do not live their statement on stability that they always read at the beginning of every public comment section. Model that statement on stability!

    • Adam Minh 2 months ago
      Reply

      It must have been autocorrect. Policy of civility (though stability kind of works too).

  4. Wilcox Parent 2 months ago
    Reply

    How does the saying go? “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” Wilcox High School is far from perfect with some rotten apples and nothing is done by leaders.

  5. Ha 1 month ago
    Reply

    Ha! As if any of these people have a clue. They will be doing prayer groups next year not kidding they already do I have seen it truly awful

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