San Francisco, CA (Feb 8, 2022) – SF Parent Coalition and four former SFUSD school board presidents are calling for a delay in the deadline for superintendent candidates to submit their applications. The current deadline is February 18, 2022.
The incoming Superintendent will face a challenging climate and, potentially, a new Board of Education. In order to ensure that the best candidate is at the helm of SF Unified School District, the hiring committee needs to have a robust, diverse, and high-quality pool to draw from. Given the upcoming recall election of several Board of Education commissioners, applicants do not yet know who they will be working with or reporting to. It could take days before the results can be called and weeks for the election to be certified. We must allow SFUSD access to the widest range of possible candidates; there’s too much uncertainty at this moment.
“Choosing a new superintendent to lead our schools is one of the most important decisions we’ll make as a city. It absolutely should not be rushed. A short extension of the application period will help better ensure we get the most talented, diverse, qualified applicants to lead our public schools,” said Supervisor Matt Haney, who previously served as President of the Board of Education during the Superintendent search process that led to the hiring of Dr. Vincent Matthews.
Delaying the application deadline to March 15, 2022 would enable SFUSD to attract a broader range of applicants who might otherwise be deterred by the timing of the recall election; while still allowing ample time for the chosen candidate to start on July 1st, 2022. With more clarity after the recall election is behind us, the new Superintendent can plan long-term with full buy-in from the Board of Education.
“As a former President of the Board of Education,” said Norman Yee, “I know that selecting a Superintendent is one of the most important jobs that a Board Commissioner can undertake. Our children deserve the best new superintendent to guide our School District for many years to come. That’s why it is important that we do not rush the selection process. We need to assure maximum community input and gain the trust of our public. A delay is not the end of the world if it means we are able to capture a broader and diverse pool of candidates to choose from.”
Another previous president of the SFUSD Board of Education, Rachel Norton, said, “Concern about the proximity of the application deadline and the recall election is understandable. Regardless of where you stand on whether Commissioners should be removed, potential applicants could be reluctant to apply without knowing the final composition of the Board. San Francisco deserves the most talented and committed applicants that are out there.”
And finally, Fred Rodriguez, who also previously served as president of the SFUSD Board of Education stated, “The School Board has only one employee directly reporting to it: the Superintendent. Selection and oversight of the Superintendent are at the core of a Board member’s responsibilities to ensure that each child in the District is properly served. It is important that a prospective candidate for Superintendent know the Board to whom he/she will be reporting. It is incumbent on the incumbent Board to facilitate an orderly transition by delaying the selection process until the results of the election are known.”
At a recent Board of Education meeting, Hazard Young Attea Associates (the search firm helping SFUSD find its next superintendent) shared that, compared to other large urban districts with satisfaction scores in the 40-60% range, SFUSD is hovering much lower in the 20%-40% range. Turning these numbers around will be a huge undertaking for the new superintendent; in addition to avoiding a state takeover, balancing the budget, addressing declining enrollment, and delivering high-quality instruction to our diverse student population.
Today, San Francisco Parent Coalition will be formally requesting that the SFUSD Board of Education delay the superintendent application deadline until March 15, 2022 or until the school board recall election results are certified.
Founded in the summer of 2020, SF Parents (formerly Decreasing the Distance) is a collective of 4,500+ San Francisco public school parents, students, teachers, and community supporters. The organization centers the needs of children and youth in San Francisco public schools by bringing together a diverse network of parents and caregivers to advocate for a thriving, equitable school system.