Tahoe/Truckee superintendent search centers on 9 finalists

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun
File photoCurrent TTUSD Superintendent Steve Jennings.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; Over the next month or so, school board officials plan to interview nine candidates who have applied to become the next superintendent of Tahoe-Truckee schools.

and#8220;Our search consultant actually phoned all of the candidates, phoned the references and phoned references that weren’t their references,and#8221; said Trustee Gaylan Larson, referring to individuals who had knowledge of the candidates but were not listed on resumes, during last Wednesday’s Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board meeting.

The interviews and#8212; which will not be public and#8212; should be completed by early December, trustees said, with the board eventually voting on a replacement at a future meeting. In all, 50 people applied for the job, and the list was narrowed to nine finalists.

Ed Hilton, co-president for the local teachers’ union, the Tahoe Truckee Education Association, questioned the board last Wednesday as to why the interviews would not be public.

and#8220;Through the whole process you said it was going to be an open process, so I’m just wondering at what point will it be more public so we can hear what you have to say,and#8221; Hilton said.

Trustees Kirsten Livak and Kim Szczurek said the public process occurred when board members gathered input from the community and district staff during a pair of workshops this past summer.

and#8220;The board went through a process of identifying traits, qualities, knowledge skills and abilities as well as all the input we got from all of the stakeholder groups,and#8221; Szczurek said. and#8220;We’re going to continue to think about this as we measure these candidates.and#8221;

It’s also matter of trust, Livak said.

and#8220;We’re asking that the public and the community rely on the board to have the trust … ascribed to us when you voted for us,and#8221; Livak said. and#8220;Now we will be moving into the kind of critical stages of that decision over the next eight weeks.and#8221;

Trustee Randy Hill said privacy on behalf of the applicants is another reason for the closed-session interviews.

The current superintendent, Steve Jennings, will retire March 1; he announced the move in early June after 39 years in education.

Jennings was hired by TTUSD in March 2008. He worked as a teacher and principal in Montana before coming to California in 1988. He served as principal, deputy superintendent and superintendent in Paradise, Calif., for 20 years before coming to the district.

A February retirement was chosen, Jennings said, to coincide with his birthday on Feb. 5, when he’ll turn 63.

The district announced last week that David Inns, assistant superintendent of Human Resources, had retired effective Nov. 1.

Inns, who had led the Human Resources department since August 2008, cited both personal and medical reasons for his decision, according to a press release from Switchback PR + Marketing.

and#8220;When I started here a little over three years ago, my kids were busy with their careers, and there were no grandchildren yet,and#8221; Inns said in a statement. and#8220;My oldest daughter lives in England and another lives on the East coast. I’m going to need extended time for travel in order to connect with my kids and grandkids.and#8221;

Among accomplishments listed by the district, Inns is finishing a department protocol manual and#8212; a first for TTUSD and#8212; which will promote consistency both now and in the future.

and#8220;David has been very instrumental in creating a new and positive working environment for staff at TTUSD,and#8221; Jennings said in a statement. and#8220;He walked us through some difficult times, with layoffs and negotiations, which is never easy, but was able to steer us humanely and positively through these challenges.and#8221;

While he is officially retired, Inns has agreed to stay on and offer assistance until after the holidays, according to the press release, to ensure a smooth transition for his successor. The recruiting process for the new HR Director will begin before Thanksgiving, and officials anticipate having a slate of candidates for the district’s new superintendent to select from by early 2012.

and#8212; Sun Managing Editor Kevin MacMillan contributed to this report.

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