Position Details
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District: Santa Paula Unified School District
Position/Title: Superintendent
Salary: Competitive and negotiable
Closing Date: Monday, April 15, 2013

The Position

The governing board of the Santa Paula Unified School District invites applications for the position of Superintendent from qualified and dedicated professional educators. This superintendent will be responsible for crafting and constructing this newly unified K-12 school district located in a rural setting. The ideal candidate will be someone who leads with integrity and has excellent communication and interpersonal skills. This visionary leader will build strong stakeholder relationships and coalitions for the benefit of children. This team-builder must be a "generalist" with the knowledge and ability to organize and manage all facets of a newly formed K-12 school district including preschool and alternative high school programs. The successful candidate must be able to understand and embrace the culture and history of this small and diverse school district and community. The person selected for this position will be someone who is goal oriented and who can build an atmosphere of trust and respect with the governing board, the staff (and their representative associations), students, parents and the community.

The Community

The City of Santa Paula with a population of approximately 29,000 is located 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles and 14 miles east of Ventura and the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. It is the geographical center of Ventura County, situated in the rich agricultural Santa Clara River Valley. The city is surrounded by rolling hills and rugged mountain peaks, in addition to orange, lemon, and avocado groves. Santa Paula is referred to as the "Citrus Capital of the World." In the city there are many old homes undergoing restoration, a Southern Pacific Depot built in 1887, and a small but busy airport called the "Antique Airplane Capital of the World." Television and movie crews are a common sight. The city also has an active redevelopment plan which includes expansion of housing developments as well as new elementary and high school sites. The location makes it a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family.

The District

The Santa Paula Unified School District was approved by the voters in November 2012 and will begin operation on July 1, 2013. The Governing Board has been busy establishing the new district and is excited to select the first superintendent of this new school district and looks forward to collaboratively building a culture of academic excellence of 21st Century teaching and learning.

The new District will operate an early childhood education program, six K-5 elementary schools, one 6-8 middle school, one comprehensive high school and one continuation high school. Approximately 499 certificated and classified employees will serve 5400 students on a budget estimated to be $45 million.

Santa Paula Unified is proud to be the home of the National MESA Champions, the Migrant Speech/Debate Winners, a CSBA Golden Bell Award recipient, two award winning academic academies, and a National Blue Ribbon elementary school. In addition, both high schools were recently awarded six year accreditations, a new track and field facility was recently completed, and a state of the art science/technology building will be completed by the Fall of 2014.

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

  • Classroom teaching experience required. K-12 preferred.
  • Administrative experience at site and district levels required, preferably at K-12 levels.
  • Experience as a superintendent or assistant/deputy superintendent preferred
  • California Administrative Services Credential required
  • Bilingual (Spanish Proficient) preferred

Personal Characteristics

  • Is honest and ethical, a person of integrity
  • Is a strong communicator who is approachable, accessible, possesses exceptional empathetic listening skills and can communicate with all stakeholders; a "people person"
  • Demonstrates openness and inclusiveness with all groups; treats all people fairly, with dignity and respect
  • Is a person of strong convictions, able to make difficult decisions and carry out those decisions
  • Actively demonstrates that the interests of children are foremost in his/her decision-making
  • Is a courageous leader able to make the difficult decisions based on what is best for students and will stand on his/her convictions when confronted with pressure
  • Is an enthusiastic, energetic and motivational team player able to create a cohesive atmosphere within the district
  • Will study, quickly learn and embrace the community and district, including its history, culture and needs before making significant changes

Professional Skills and Abilities

  • Is a strong, visionary leader in all aspects of school district operations
  • Has a successful record of building and maintaining positive working relationships with employee associations/unions and their leadership
  • Has expertise in fiscal matters and will ensure an open, transparent budgeting process; fiscally prudent, cost conscious
  • Is a "hands on" leader able to wear many hats, highly visible and active in the community, service clubs, schools and worksites
  • Is able to know, appreciate and work effectively with all populations of a socio-economically and ethnically diverse, small rural 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
  • Is able to build strong communication links with the schools, district departments and the community.
  • Is a person who is a team builder, one who recognizes the abilities and contributions of all district staff and motivates staff toward excellence
  • Is able to build and maintain a climate of trust and respect within the district and with the community
  • Builds and supports a strong leadership team and honors the chain of command
  • Sets high expectations for staff; insists on evaluations of performance at all levels while maintaining a system of accountability for results
  • Has knowledge of personnel practices and collective bargaining

Board Relationships

  • Is able to work effectively with the Governing Board to foster a common vision and commitment, maintain a strong governance team structure and establish strong board/superintendent relationships
  • Knows and actively supports school board members in their roles in district operations and activities


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:

Santa Paula Unified School District
c/o Gerrie Fausett 805-331-4287 and Joe Condon, Ed.D. 310-901-3749, Consultants
Dave Long & Associates, Executive Search Services
636 Loretta Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

All applicants must provide the following items by the closing date, April 15, 2013 (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 and brochure may be completed via Dave Long & Associates' web page at DLAssoc.com.
  • A personal letter of application stating reasons for interest in the Santa Paula 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 April 15, 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 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 Santa Paula 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

President, Tina Urias
Vice President, Diana Ponce-Gomez
Clerk, Michelle Kolbeck
Member, Kelsey Stewart
Member, Chris Wilson

Application Timeline

Monday, April 15, 2013 (5:00 p.m.)
Interviews are tentatively scheduled for May 10 and 11, 2013.