Contact:    The Board of Education

310-450-8338, ext. 241

For Immediate Release

April 24, 2006


Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Conducts Closed Search for Superintendent

After carefully considering the advice of two search firms, the Board of Education decided at its meeting of April 6, 2006 to conduct a closed search for a new superintendent to replace outgoing superintendent John E. Deasy. During search firm interviews conducted by the Board at its previous meeting, both firms advised the Board that an open search, in which the names of several finalists are disclosed before the new superintendent is selected, would lead to top candidates not even applying for the position. "Your best candidates are not likely to be searching for a job," Bill Attea of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates told the Board. "In our experience, it's the first question they ask: Is the search closed? They will not want to jeopardize their current jobs and relationships in their communities in order to participate in a process where they may end up not getting the job. Almost all our searches in the last few years have been closed, for this reason."


The other search firm interviewed by the Board, Leadership Associates, was even more emphatic, stating that it would refuse to take on the search unless it was closed. "After speaking with the search firms, we realized that we were faced with a decision between an open search, which we would have preferred but which risked losing the top candidates, and a closed search, which the search firms assured us would maximize our chances of recruiting an outstanding superintendent," said Board of Education President Julia Brownley. "We decided that it is in the best interest of our students and staff to have the best superintendent we can find. It was difficult, but we are convinced we made the right decision."

The Board is working very diligently to obtain the community's input, before the search begins, on the values, skills, and attributes that community members want to see in the new superintendent. "Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, the search firm we chose, will be hosting numerous forums and meetings with a wide cross-section of stakeholders in our communities to
ensure that the Board hears all the voices and opinions in our two cities," said Brownley. "We are accustomed to a high degree of community involvement in the selection of superintendents, and we will work extremely hard to be certain that we get as much community input as possible up front."


Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

1651 16th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404 310-450-8338 fax 310-581-1138