Position Details
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District: Sierra Sands Unified School District
Position/Title: Superintendent
Salary: Competitive and negotiable
Closing Date: Monday, February 10, 2014

An Invitation to Lead

We, the Board of Trustees of the Sierra Sands Unified School District, are earnestly seeking an experienced, task-oriented, and visionary leader for our school district. We are excited by the ongoing accomplishments within our district. We have great opportunities for an educational administrator with a passion for public education and the students we serve. Our new superintendent must be able to embrace our community and our culture and join us in our continuing quest for excellence.

The Position

Our ideal candidate must possess exceptional interpersonal skills in communication and have an inclusive management style that welcomes and encourages participation and involvement. A strong understanding and experience in curriculum and instruction, construction, and fiscal management are essential. The ideal candidate must also understand the unique challenges of our school district. The Board of Trustees is committed to working effectively with the superintendent to foster and maintain a strong governance team.

The District

The Sierra Sands Unified School District is an award-winning school district with national, state, and county honors for academic and career technical excellence. We are committed to ensuring quality leadership and stable governance. We are proud of our students and recognize their potential. We work diligently to provide them with programs to meet their academic and individual needs and desires. Our teachers, support staff, and administration work cooperatively and collaboratively to accomplish our mission and our goals. We work closely with parents and community to provide students with additional opportunities.

There are 5000 active students in the Sierra Sands Unified School District. The District is comprised of one comprehensive high school and one continuation high school, two middle schools grades 6-8, six elementary schools, one necessary small school, TK, adult, and nationally certified preschools. Five of the school sites currently reside on federal land. Concurrently, the District holds before and after school ASES programs, summer school, independent study, and extended school year for special education students. In addition to a very rigorous and robust core educational opportunity, students participate in a wide variety of co- and extra-curricular opportunities including fine and applied arts, sports, and competitive events at the county, state, and national levels. An elected six member Board of Trustees governs the organization, operation, plans and procedures of the 954 square mile district.

The Community

Sierra Sands Unified School District is located at the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the northwestern portion of the Mojave Desert of Kern County, California. The community is at the center of, and just a short drive from many opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, fishing, and off-roading. It encompasses the largest and most pristine site of petroglyphs in the world, and offers an admirable variety of geologic sites and experiences. It is a unified school district serving the City of Ridgecrest, the unincorporated areas of Inyokern, Rand and other outlying areas.

The community began in 1943 as an off-base support to the China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center and presently has a population of approximately 28,000 residents in the incorporated City of Ridgecrest. The Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, is a center of excellence for research and development, test and evaluation for the Navy and offers an exciting and meaningful community experience. The District has adopted a theme of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics to ensure that its students are well prepared to meet the workforce and aesthetic needs of the community and those of our nation. As such, the District has educational partnership agreements with NAWC and the local community college, and an extensive array of collaborative agreements with businesses in the community to ensure that students are prepared to meet the demands of the world of work.

A G. O. Bond passed by the community and two grants through the Department of Defense have allowed the district to modernize most of its facilities. This process is ongoing. The District has embraced common core and is currently offering the breadth, quality, complexity, and rigor in its curriculum necessary to meet the new learning challenges. A separate Department of Defense grant is enabling the district to ensure that the students are technologically prepared to meet the challenges of the new curricular and assessment requirements and, that teachers are well prepared to meet the learning needs of students.

The District collaborates closely with staff, parents, community, and students at a level of transparency that ensures that students are the central focus of all efforts and resources. District staff ensure that all input is welcomed, heard, and considered in the decision-making process. District staff work diligently to meet their own high expectations and those of the community for their children.

Selection Criteria

The following criteria represent standards which will be used in the evaluation of applications and in the selection of the superintendent.

Professional Experience and Preparation

  • Appropriate administrative credential
  • Master's Degree from an accredited college or university
  • Experience as a classroom teacher, school principal and/or cabinet level district administrator
  • Track record of administrative accomplishments at the site and/or district level
  • Experience with long-range planning
  • Evidence of ongoing professional growth
  • Evidence of success in maintaining district solvency

Personal Characteristics

  • Honesty, integrity, openness
  • Ability to listen and be open to new ideas
  • Student and Family centered
  • Highly visible educational leader within the district, community, and County, State, and Federal governments
  • Teambuilder
  • Encourage visionary discussions among staff at all levels
  • Practice an Open Door Policy
  • Ability to recognize and appreciate a diverse community

Professional Skills and Abilities

  • Strong visionary leader
  • Record of building and maintaining positive and collaborative relationships with employee associations and their leadership
  • Able to add value to the District by pursuing grants and special projects that may enhance the already high quality of the District's efforts
  • Willingness to "do it all" as often as required in a small school district

Board Relationships

  • Ability to keep the Board well informed
  • Team player
  • Responsive
  • Consensus builder
  • Fair and impartial
  • Commitment to be forthright and candid at all times
  • Confidential


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 search consultants.
Applications must be submitted on-line to:

Sierra Sands Unified School District
c/o Dr. Jay Hoffman, Consultant, (951) 377-9169
Dave Long & Associates, Executive Search Services
636 Loretta Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

All applicants must provide the following items by the closing date, February 10, 2014 (5:00 p.m.) to be considered:
  • A completed Application Information Form. (Please complete as instructed: do not complete by stating "see attached resume".) The Application Information Form may be completed via Dave Long & Associates' web page at DLAssoc.com.
  • A personal letter of application stating reasons for interest in the Sierra Sands 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 February 10, 2014 (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 final 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. The Board may schedule a visit to the successful applicant's community prior to finalizing its decision.

Salary and Contract Terms

The Sierra Sands 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

William Farris
Kurt Rockwell
Amy Castillo-Covert
Judy Dietrichson
Mike Scott
Tom Pearl

Application Timeline

February 10, 2014 (5:00 p.m.)
Interviews are tentatively scheduled for March 14 & 15, 2014.