Position Details
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District: Modesto City Schools District
Position/Title: Superintendent
Salary: Competitve and Negotiable
Closing Date: Friday, February 25, 2011

The Position

The Governing Board of the Modesto City Schools is seeking an experienced, passionate, and visionary educational leader for the position of superintendent. The individual must have successful experience working with a diverse population and improving achievement for all levels of students. An articulate team builder, the new superintendent must be skillful in organizing and managing all facets of a large school district with a "small town" atmosphere. This individual must be an excellent communicator who is a good listener, gathers input, and is courageous in making difficult decisions that are in the best interest of the students. The person must embrace the district's cultural diversity and will build on its tradition of becoming stronger through accepting and appreciating differences. As the spokesperson for education in the community, the superintendent will need to communicate regularly with parents, businesses, service organizations, and governmental agencies to build strong, high functioning partnerships.

The District

Modesto City Schools is located in the Central Valley, 90 miles southeast of the San Francisco Bay Area and 70 miles south of Sacramento. The district is the second largest employer in Stanislaus County and has provided exemplary programs for students in the community since 1871. The staff is composed of approximately 1,650 certificated and 1,400 classified employees who serve approximately 30,000 students.
There are 22 elementary schools (K-6), four junior high schools (7-8), seven comprehensive high schools (9-12), and an extensive alternative education program which includes an opportunity and continuation school, independent study, and adult evening high school.
Education in MCS involves not only teaching curriculum based on the state standards, but also emphasizes the Fourth R (Responsibility), a district-wide Character Education Program. The district tests students on a regular basis using interim assessments, common finals, and district and state tests to determine an individual student's progress in meeting content standards.
The general fund budget for FY 2010-2011 is $252 million. The board is proud of the facilities throughout the district as well as the ability to focus on students even in these difficult financial times.
Modesto City Schools is committed to providing a safe learning environment for all students. The district has made significant progress in infusing technology, including the Pacific Rim Project, into classrooms. Other technology improvement efforts have included interactive whiteboards, online learning, and online collaboration tools for teachers.
Most importantly, MCS is proud of the student achievement and academic progress made by students, but understands there is much work to be done.

The Community

Modesto is a vibrant community proud of its citizens, great traditions, educational opportunities, and multicultural lifestyles. It is blessed year round with mild weather and some of the world's richest soil. The area offers affordable housing, regional businesses, state-of-the-art hospitals, shopping centers, great schools, beautiful parks, and a wide offering of youth programs. Nearby are outstanding recreational areas for water sports, biking, hiking, golf, and skiing. Modesto is family-friendly and a great place in which to live, work, and play. Modesto offers the diversity and facilities of a metropolitan city, but still maintains an atmosphere of old fashioned hospitality. Centrally located on Highway 99, Modesto is easily accessible from throughout California. West of the valley and over the coastal mountain range lies San Francisco Bay Area, a short drive from Modesto. Eastward are the foothills that house the famed Gold Country "Mother Lode" and lead to the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range and Yosemite National Park.

Selection Criteria

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

Professional Experience and Preparation

  • Experience as a superintendent or district level leader in a similar school district desired but not required
  • Has a variety of educational experiences pre-kindergarten through twelfth grades
  • Master’s degree required; doctorate desirable

Personal Characteristics

  • Has unquestioned integrity with demonstrated leadership skills
  • An assertive leader and problem solver, able to make difficult decisions in a timely manner and monitor results; gets things done
  • Sets clear expectations for self and staff; insists on evaluation of performance at all levels and rewards excellence
  • An accessible, active listener who demonstrates respect for students, staff, board, parents, and the community
  • A creative, ”out of the box” thinker
  • Demonstrated ability to create a district climate of inclusion, cooperation, and collaboration
  • Excellent communication skills – both oral and written – and a record of effective communication with the board, staff and community
  • A team builder with a talent for building staff morale and eliciting high performance
  • Appreciates, acknowledges, and celebrates contributions and achievements of staff and community towards the mission and goals of the district

Professional Skills and Abilities

  • Demonstrated fiscal expertise in oversight of the budget and budget development process
  • Able to address the district’s declining enrollment to effectively meet the educational needs of all students
  • Works well with board members individually and collectively and understands effective governance practices
  • A strong curriculum leader with a dedication to educational excellence and equitable opportunities for all students; relentless in raising student achievement
  • Experience as a certificated classroom teacher desired but not required
  • Sensitive and responsive to the needs of diverse groups – ethnically and socio-economically
  • Successful in creating positive working relationships with strong employee unions
  • Demonstrates a commitment to the importance of parental involvement
  • Understands the dynamics and politics of a large city in an agricultural community
  • Demonstrates an ability to collaborate with city, county, state and federal agencies and has forged effective partnerships


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 Barry Reed at 916-212-9905 or Elaine Collins at 707-486-1576. Any contact with board members in an attempt to influence the selection process will be considered a breach of professional ethics and result in the applicant’s removal from the process.
All applicants must provide the following items by the closing date to be considered:

  • A completed Application Information Form. Please complete as instructed; do not complete by stating “see attached resume.” The Application Information Form is to be completed via Dave Long and Associates page at DLAssoc.com.
  • A personal letter of application stating reasons for interest in the Modesto City Schools 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
  • Provide example of an article or speech written and presented by the applicant

Interested applicants should submit placement papers or reference letters, along with a resume, completed application form and letter of application online by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 25, 2011.


Selection Procedure

A professional screening committee 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 and studying the report of the screening committee, the board will select and interview the top candidates. A Superintendent Selection Advisory Committee, composed of district stakeholders, will assist in the first round of interviews. Interview dates are tentatively scheduled for March 24, 25 and 26, 2011.
Travel expenses for those candidates selected for the interviews will be the responsibility of the candidates.

Salary and Contract Terms

The Modesto City Schools Board of Education will offer a salary that is competitive and negotiable to the successful candidate, based on that individual’s qualifications and experience. The board intends to offer a multi-year contract. The present superintendent’s salary is approximately $206,000. The anticipated start date is July 1, 2011.
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
Sue Zwahlen, President 2013
Ruben Villalobos, Vice President 2013
Nancy Cline 2013
Steven Grenbeaux 2011
Gary Lopez 2013
Cindy Marks 2013
Kimberly Gerber Spina 2011

Applications Close

February 25, 2011 (5:00 p.m.)