The Cambrian

Coast Unified begins search process for new high school principal

Coast Unified School District trustees meet monthly at the district offices in the Old Cambria Grammar School building, 1350 Main St.
Coast Unified School District trustees meet monthly at the district offices in the Old Cambria Grammar School building, 1350 Main St. sprovost@thetribunenews.com

Coast Unified School District has begun the process of selecting a principal to replace Jonathan Sison, who will be stepping down as Coast Union High School principal at the end of this semester.

The district is accepting applications for the position, and Superintendent Victoria Schumacher said Monday “we would welcome both” internal and external applicants.

This spring, Sison and the district entered into a settlement agreement under which he will serve as “principal on special assignment” starting July 5 and submit his resignation no later than June 30, 2017. Some in the community have expressed concern and frustration over Sison’s departure since it was announced.

In an interview Monday, Schumacher said she could not comment on the reasons for Sison’s departure because it is a personnel matter. She did, however, outline some of what the district is looking for in its next principal.

“I think there is a strong desire for accountability — of everybody being held accountable for the job we’re here to do: to support student learning,” she said. “There’s a desire for good communication. There’s a lot more.”

Schumacher added that the district is looking for “someone who’s really focused on student motivation for learning.”

Schumacher said the process is underway, with the first of three scheduled stakeholder meetings having been held May 11. That meeting invited input from all staff members, both classified and certificated, on what they’d like to see in the next principal, she said.

I think there is a strong desire for accountability — of everybody being held accountable for the job we’re here to do: to support student learning.

Victoria Schumacher, Coast Unified School District superintendent

A second meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 20, with students in the ASB leadership class, and the third meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. May 23 with parents in the board room at 1350 Main St.

Schumacher said messages have been sent to families announcing the meeting, and forms are available at the high school and Santa Lucia Middle School with questions parents can answer to help the district set priorities in hiring.

The forms ask respondents to identify the greatest strength they wish to see in a new principal, then follows up with questions about how they would like to see the principal support students, teachers and staff, and parents and the community.

After the input is gathered, two committees comprising administrators, teachers, classified personnel and community members will meet. One will discuss the technical aspects of the job, while the other will focus on the interpersonal skills needed in a prospective principal.

The district will not use an executive search firm to identify candidates, Schumacher said, adding that interviews will likely take place in early July.

Board meeting

The Coast Unified School District Board of Trustees will hold its regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at the district offices, 1350 Main St. The meeting will follow a closed session set for 5 p.m. Trustees are scheduled to:

▪  Consider approving new job descriptions for a payroll, health and benefits coordinator and administrative assistant business manager.

▪  Consider awarding a contract for a turf project at Santa Lucia Middle School.

▪  Review textbook adoption for Cambria Grammar School and Coast Union High School.

Trustees are scheduled to hear year-end reports from the Grammar School PTA, Coast Union Bronco Boosters Club and Cambria Education Foundation, as well as the annual student wellness report, superintendent’s report and site principals’ reports. Presentations will recognize Mitch Hicks as 2016 Classified Employee of the Year, Cyndi Klatt as 2016 Teacher of the Year and retirees Hicks, Linda Logan and Mary Ann Paul.

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