Monday, June 22, 2009

School Site Role Expands in New Principal Selection Process

As part of an ongoing effort initiated by the superintendent to encourage “bottom-up” decision-making, school communities are being given an expanded role in the selection process for new school principals. With 29 principals participating in the early retirement program, San Diego Unified will be selecting more new principals this summer than ever before. To encourage greater involvement and input from school communities, the superintendent has implemented a new process that seeks input from teachers, classified employees, parent leaders and students in the selection process.

The new principal selection process begins with the school improvement officer (SIO) working with school site staff and parents to develop a profile of desired traits and priority skills for the principal. For high school vacancies, the SIO also seeks input and suggestions from the school’s student leaders. The profile is then used to help screen prospective candidates for each position. Candidates participate in a standardized interview which explores their value systems, leadership skills and experience. The top candidates are then selected who are most qualified and who best match the profile traits identified by the school site.

The top candidates are then interviewed by the School Community Interview Panel made up of at least two teachers, one classified employee, two parents and a principal from a similar school. The school community has the option to add members to the panel. Based on the interviews, the panel presents its recommendation for the principal selection.

As the final step, the superintendent presents the school site’s recommended candidate to the school board for approval. So far, this process has successfully led to the selection of 18 highly qualified principals who will begin work at their new schools this fall. For more information, please contact Dr. Grenita Lathan, chief elementary school improvement officer, at (619) 725-5502, or Sid Salazar, chief secondary school improvement officer, at (619) 725-7772.

For more district news, see this week's Superintendent's Friday Notes.