Position Details
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District: Mountain Empire Unified School District
Position/Title: Superintendent
Salary: competitive and negotiable based on the qualifications and experience of the successful candidate, plus fringe benefits
Closing Date: Monday, October 7, 2013

The Position

The governing board of the Mountain Empire Unified School District invites applications for the position of Superintendent from qualified and dedicated professional educators who enjoy the visibility and opportunity for interaction with people that comes with working in a small, rural school district. The ideal candidate will be someone that is a visionary leader with excellent communication and interpersonal skills that is able to build strong stakeholder relationships and coalitions for the benefit of children. This person must be a “generalist” with the knowledge and ability to organize and manage all facets of a pre-k through adult school system.

The successful candidate will be a strong instructional leader who is intent on improving academic performance for ALL students. They will have the requisite understanding and skills to effectively work in a multi-cultural, socio-economically diverse school system and the communities it serves. This person will also embrace and demonstrate a collaborative, inclusive leadership style.

The Community

Mountain Empire Unified School District is located in the mountain range dividing the metropolitan area of San Diego and the deserts of Imperial County. It is approximately 50 miles east of San Diego. The school system serves the rural communities of Boulevard Campo/Lake Morena, Descanso, Guatay, Jacumba, Mount Laguna, Pine Valley, Potrero and Tecate.

In addition to enjoying the amenities offered by the metropolitan area of San Diego a few miles to the west with its beaches, fine restaurants, cultural attractions and institutions of higher learning, residents of this area experience the quiet, outback life of a region that is home to Cuyamaca State Park, Lake Morena County Park and the Cleveland National Forest. The high desert with its unique flora and fauna and outstanding vistas is also available nearby. People that enjoy hiking, camping, mountain biking, bird-watching, outdoor photography and fishing find this to be a paradise.

Another feature of the communities comprising the Mountain Empire Unified School District is the availability of housing. In the expensive southern California market, this part of San Diego county offers some of the most affordable housing in the region.

In addition to the numerous outdoor activities being available, visitors to the area and residents experience benefits available only in small towns. For example, each summer communities of the district hold special festivals and parades featuring such events as team penning, barrel racing, arts & crafts, food and dancing.

The District

Mountain Empire Unified School District encompasses over 660 square miles of foothills, high desert and mountainous terrain in the eastern part of San Diego County. It serves over 1,600 students in grades pre k-adult. There are six elementary schools, (two of the elementary schools are compact schools) and a comprehensive high school. The district also operates two state preschool program sites, one head start program and an alternative education program.

The district’s simple but clearly enunciated focus for student learning is summed up in its mission statement: “Preparing to participate in a competitive global society.” This goal will be realized through the Mountain Empire Unified School District’s vision of “Our students, parents, community members, staff, teachers, and administrators work together to create a collaborative learning culture.”

The school system is committed to providing a quality education in a positive and safe environment where all children must be given the support needed to succeed. Toward this end, the District continues to follow its strategic plan. A top priority of this process is to continue and expand the district’s focus on the attainment of challenging academic standards and achievement of exemplary student learning outcomes.

The ethnic population of the district is rich and varied with White (not Hispanic)-40%; Hispanic or Latino-48%; Native American or Alaska Native-6% and Other-6%.

The district’s General Fund Operating budget is approximately $16.9 million.

Selection Criteria

Professional Experience and Preparation

  • Master’s degree required
  • Classroom teaching experience required
  • Administrative experience at site and district levels required
  • Experience as a superintendent or assistant/deputy superintendent preferred
  • Bilingual (Spanish desirable)

Professional Skills and Abilities

  • Has experience with or knows all levels of school education and can lead staff to implement best practices that will result in achievement of high levels of student performance and behavior
  • Maintains knowledge of the latest developments, strategies, research and reform efforts, including effective programs that result in heightened student academic success
  • Has knowledge of and experience in finance, including budgeting, long and short range fiscal planning in an environment of shrinking resources and creative funding approaches and grant administration
  • Experienced and knowledge of Charter School oversight, funding and petition process
  • Experienced in successfully building and maintaining positive relationships with employee associations/unions and their leadership
  • Has knowledge and experience serving in a district and community with similar demographics and issues to those of the Mountain Empire Unified School District
  • Familiar with all facets of managing a small rural unified school district

Board Relationships

The successful candidate will have the ability to:
  • Work effectively and efficiently to implement board actions, foster a common vision and commitment, maintain a strong governance team model and establish strong superintendent/board relations
  • Work openly with the board to ensure that its members receive all relevant information in a timely manner, including advice and recommendations necessary to make informed decisions

Personal Characteristics

  • A “people person” who is open, approachable, accessible, possesses exceptional empathetic listening skills and can effectively communicate, both verbally and in writing, with all stakeholders
  • A “hands on” leader able to wear many hats, highly visible and active in the community, schools and worksites
  • Able to know, appreciate and work effectively with all populations of a socio-economically and ethnically diverse community to build bridges and coalitions for the benefit of children
  • Respects, supports and encourages stakeholder involvement in school and district activities, including parents and parent organizations
  • A visionary leader who fosters openness, collaboration and inclusiveness with all groups
  • A courageous leader able to make the difficult decisions based on what is best for students and will stand on their convictions when confronted with pressure
  • An enthusiastic and energetic team player able to create a team atmosphere within the district
  • Will study and quickly learn about the community and district, including their history, culture, victories and challenges
  • An inspiring, motivational person who actively reaches out to all segments of the community

Application Procedures

All applications will be held strictly confidential. Each applicant is requested to follow the procedures listed below. Those applicants wishing additional information should contact the board adviser:

Dr. William Diedrich at 760-219-5873

Applications must be submitted on-line to:

Mountain Empire Unified School District
c/o Dr. William Diedrich
Dave Long & Associates, Executive Search Services
All applicants must provide the following items by the closing date, Monday, October 7, 2013 (5:00 p.m.) to be considered.
  • A completed Application Information Form. (Please complete as instructed, and do not complete by stating "see attached resume".) The Application Information Form and brochure may be accessed via Dave Long & Associates web page at DLAssoc.com.
  • A personal letter of application stating reasons for interest in the Mountain Empire Unified School District superintendent position
  • A resume providing biographical background information about educational preparation, experience, and achievements
  • A placement file and/or five (5) current letters of professional references describing the applicant's performance in previously held positions

It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit placement papers or reference letters on-line to meet the Monday, October 7, 2013 (5:00 p.m.) deadline.

Selection Procedure

A professional screening committee of respected educational leaders will evaluate the qualifications of each applicant. The board and the screening committee will use the described criteria during the screening, interviewing and final decision-making process. After receiving the report of the committee, the board will select and interview the top candidates.

The board will then select and invite candidates for the final interviews, conduct the interviews and select the superintendent. Any applicant who contacts a board member with the intent of influencing the board’s decision will be disqualified. Travel expenses for those candidates selected for the initial interview will be the responsibility of the candidate.

Salary Contract Terms

The Mountain Empire Unified School District Board of Education will offer a multi-year contract of employment with a salary that is competitive and negotiable based on the qualifications and experience of the successful candidate, plus fringe benefits.

It is the candidate’s responsibility to provide the district with employment eligibility and verification of citizenship in compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act. The finalist will also be required to provide the district with certified transcripts that verify attainment of academic degrees and proof of appropriate credentials.

Board of Education

Term Expires
Tina Heimerdinger, President 2016
Beryl Buchanan, Vice-President 2014
Trina Ambrose, Clerk 2016
Jeffrey Morrison, Member 2014
Kenneth Northcote, Member 2014
Danny Nunez, Member 2014
William Troutt, Member 2014

Applications Close

Monday, October 7, 2013 (5:00 p.m.)
Interviews are tentatively scheduled for October 31 through November 2, 2013.