Position Details
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District: Needles Unified School District (2022)
Position/Title: Superintendent
Salary: Competitive and negotiable
Closing Date: Monday, January 16, 2023
The Position
The Board of Trustees of the Needles Unified School District announces an opening for the position of Superintendent and invites well-qualified educators with strong instructional, personnel, business management, and leadership skills to apply for the position. The candidate selected will assume leadership of the district effective on a mutually agreed date no later than July 5, 2023.

The Community
The Needles Unified School District serves multiple communities within the district’s attendance boundaries. These communities include the City of Needles, a rural community on the Colorado River with a population of approximately 5,000, Havasu Landing with approximately 1200, and the Big River Community Service District with approximately 1150. 

The district is bordered on the east by the Colorado River, which is home to the Tri-State Area (CA, AZ, NV). This region is rich with recreational activities including golf courses, water sports and fishing on the Colorado River, as well as numerous casinos, restaurants and entertainment in this Tri-State Area.  

Nearby Lake Havasu City, Laughlin and Las Vegas provide entertainment and shopping opportunities. Las Vegas International Airport offers a gateway for travel.

The District 
Needles Unified School District encompasses area of approximately 5,999 square miles and serves the City of Needles as well as the communities of Big River, Cadiz, Goffs, Essex, Havasu Landing/ Chemehuevi, and Parker Dam. 

Needles High School serves all high school students from the entire region except for students in the Big River and Parker Dam areas who attend high school in Parker, Arizona, and the nearest high school to these communities. 

The success of the District is greatly supported by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, Chemehuevi Valley Indian Tribe and Colorado River Indian Tribe who serve as collaborative educational partners.

With an enrollment of approximately 1,000 students, the District serves students at 8 school sites in both California and Arizona.  There are 5 school sites within the City of Needles at Vista Colorado ES, Needles MS, Needles HS, Community Day School and the Educational Training Center (Continuation HS). Students who live at Havasu Landing/Chemehuevi attend the Chemehuevi ES for K-5 and NMS/NHS for 6-12.  Big River and Parker Dam students attend the new Monument Peak School (K-8) and Parker HS (Parker AZ). 

The District has 60 certificated teachers,  65 classified employees, 9 administrators/ classified management employees and a budget of $17.5 million.

The diverse student population represents 47.5% White, 30.4% Hispanic, 13.6% Native American, .2% Filipino, .4% Pacific Islander, 3.2% Black, 3.7% Two or more races. Approximately 78% of students qualify for FRLP and less than 1.4% are English Learners and 15% SPEDS. 

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 to serve as superintendent of a K-12 school district.
  • Experience as a classroom teacher, school principal and/or cabinet level district administrator.
  • An earned master’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • An earned doctor’s degree from an accredited college or university desirable.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide effective visionary leadership and strategic planning to focus human and material resources towards the primary goal of quality education for students.
  • A record of ability to accomplish long-range planning, including the establishment of clear goals and objectives with long term follow-through, in concert with Board, staff, and the community.
  • Demonstrated success in developing and maintaining productive Board/Superintendent/Staff relations with open two-way communication.
  • A record of ability to refine, improve, and implement curriculum, instruction, and management strategies by working with and through people and utilizing their talents and skills.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of what constitutes a successful unified school district.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of curriculum content and teaching strategies at K-12 levels and the ability to work with educational partners to develop strategic plans to support student performance.
  • Record of being a highly visible educational leader within the school district and community and with governmental agencies at the County, State, and Federal levels.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the California Education Code and ability to interpret and implement it.
  • Record of empowerment of staff to fulfill their areas of responsibility while holding them and self accountable for showing results.
  • Record of involvement in positive, cooperative staff relations that are productive for students and perceived as mutually beneficial to all
  • Demonstrated success utilizing community resources to assist and support the total educational endeavor.
  • Demonstrated success in developing and implementing mandatory improvement plans, including LCAP and ESSER.
  • Demonstrated success in maintaining district solvency and in creative approaches to financing, planning, and implementing the development, improvement and maintenance of school facilities.
  • Demonstrated success in developing college going mind-set in district and community
  • Knowledge of and desire to pursue grants and alternative funding.
Personal Characteristics
  • Clear demonstration of honesty, integrity, openness and a strong sense of confidence in oneself and others.
  • Ability to communicate in a straightforward and sensitive manner with all members of the educational community, in both oral and written expression.
  • Genuine affection for young people coupled with a commitment to bring about high school achievement and strong student discipline.
  • Commitment to promote the concept that all children have identifiable talents/skills which will be emphasized in the educational program of the district.
  • Ability to listen and to be open to new ideas and divergent opinions and to secure meaningful involvement of staff and community to improve the quality of education for students.
  • Ability to develop trust and collaboration between various groups within the district and the community.
  • Recognition that change is vital in any organization and that necessary change can best take place when those affected by the change are actively involved in the process.
  • Recognition of the importance of keeping the Board informed and knowledgeable regarding issues, problems and providing the Board with recommended solutions to facilitate the Board’s decision-making processes.
  • Courage to make recommendations, and when necessary, unpopular decisions in the best interest of children.
  • Ability to build capacity in employees to focus on service to students and the greater school community. 
  • Initiative to pursue resources and identify experts to support the goals of the district. 
  • Willingness to “do it all” as is required in a small school district.
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 advisor:

Dr. Patricia Novotney 760-567-5590
Dave Long & Associates

Applications must be submitted online to:

All applicants must provide the following items by the closing date,  January 16, 2023 to be considered.
  • A completed Application Information Form. (Please complete as instructed: do not complete by stating “see attached resume”.)
  • A personal letter of application stating reasons for interest in the Needles 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 arrange to have all of the above items submitted online to the DLAssoc.com website no later than 5:00 PM, on January 16, 2023.

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 Board of Trustees of the Needles Unified School District intends to offer the successful candidate a multi-year contract. The salary is competitive and commensurate with training and experience and the terms of the contract are open and negotiable.

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

Needles Board of Trustees
Laurie Fragoso, President
Christina Cameron-Otero, Vice President
Arlana Walters, Board Clerk
Marilyn Matthews, Elector
Sheridan Silversmith, Member
Steve Thomas, Member

Applications close January 16, 2023