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Hollister School District selects firm for superintendent search

The board addressed concerns over the trustee election's impact on the search.

The Hollister School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously during a special meeting Aug. 21 to enter into a contract agreement negotiation with Hazard Young Attea Associates (HYA) to conduct a national search for a new superintendent.

On behalf of the board, interim superintendent William Barr will negotiate the fee, as well as a $1,000 deduction from the fee each day of the search that exceeds the scope of the contract.

HYA said if the board requested, it could hold off the process of hiring until after the November Election.

HYA’s fee for services is $21,300.

The board has three seats up for election in November. Board President Patricia Moore is seeking re-election alongside five other candidates. Trustee Elsa Rodriguez is not running for re-election, while Trustee Peter Hernandez is running for San Benito County Supervisor District 3 against former supervisor Patricia Loe.

Three other search firms were under consideration and gave presentations to the board.

During a question-and-answer portion of the presentations, Hernandez voiced concern about finding a candidate who could bring stability to the school district through a long tenure.

“To what extent are you able to protect us from turnover and even ensure we have longevity with the next superintendent?” Hernandez asked HYA representatives Diane Siri and Jacki Horejs.

Horejs emphasized that HYA can find someone who is looking for stability and intends to stay in the district for a minimum of five years if that is on the board’s priority, but also said there is no guarantee that a superintendent will stay because sometimes unusual circumstances occur.

“You are not going to hire someone who is 35 years old, probably,” Horejs said. “And they are on the peak of their career. You are going to want to hire somebody who is probably really committed to sustainability in that position.”

During HYA’s presentation, Siri said the average tenure for superintendents it has placed is more than five years and that if the person selected as the superintendent leaves in less than two years, the firm would conduct a new superintendent search for free.

Trustee Elizabeth Martinez said it was important to involve all trustee candidates in the superintendent search process because she doesn’t want the board caught off guard if the new trustees have different criteria than Trustee Robert Bernosky and herself, as they could potentially be the only returning faces on the board come November.

“I don’t want for us to come to that December meeting and if we are really excited about a candidate and then we get outvoted, that would really be a drag,” Martinez said.

Horejs said there are several options for involving the candidates in the process, like including them in community meetings or delaying the decision until after the election. She added HYA can speed up or slow down the search process to suit the board’s preference.

HYA, based in Schaumburg, Illinois, has been providing educational consulting services for more than 30 years. According to the firm’s presentation, it has conducted more than 1,200 school executive searches. The search process involves community focus groups, surveys, recruitment of qualified candidates, and recommendation of a short list to the board. The board has access to all the applications and is not bound to interview only recommended candidates. The firm will also help in the transition phase with workshops, goal-setting and evaluation.



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Noe Magaña (Noe Magaña)

Noe Magaña is a freelance writer for BenitoLink. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School graduate with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.


I hope they find someone who is committed. 

I wish the school district would focus on hiring teachers too. Three schools are missing a SPED teacher, so the special needs children are in a class with a substitute, and will have a new substitute every 30 days. That means no stability for routine structure. Autistic children need structure. The thrive on routine. Having to adjust to a new teacher every 30 days in not going to help them at all. 

I have reached out to the school district, as well as to my son’s school. I have not heard a word from the SPED principle, or from anyone from the district office.

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