My Turn: District on the hunt for best talent |

My Turn: District on the hunt for best talent

Stephen Jennings
Superintendent of Tahoe Truckee Unified School District

Being new to our school district this past spring, I arrived with a vision for strong leadership. Circumstances have created the unique opportunity to hire the three top cabinet positions in the district due to vacancies brought on by retirements and resignations. The heads of the human resource and financial services departments retired last summer and spring respectively and the director of curriculum and instruction has been vacant for over a year.

David Inns, the assistant superintendent ” human resources, was brought on board with the school district in August, coming from Davis, Calif. David has already had a significant impact and is in the process of revamping many of the human resource procedures. One of the first issues he has addressed is to centralize the hiring to help ensure consistency throughout the district.

Because our district needs to be the best steward possible of our finances, we have been very careful in recruiting a high caliber assistant superintendent of financial services. We went through the recruitment process twice and, in the second round, were fortunate to secure a high-caliber business officer, Steve Dickenson of Brainerd, Minn., whom we expect will take the helm in December. Steve will provide leadership to our business department and comes to us with strengths in making the very complex education budget understandable by community, parents and staff.

Finally, we are in the process of filling the director of curriculum vacancy. The key to the success of our school district is based on the quality of our curriculum and the instructional expertise in presenting it to the students. As such, I feel this is a critical leadership position.

Last summer I proposed and received approval to upgrade this position, from director of curriculum and instruction to assistant superintendent “-curriculum and instruction, enabling us to attract top-notch applicants. This is not a new position but rather a title change that realigns the former director of curriculum to the same level as our heads of financial services and human resources.

In the past, the director of curriculum reported to the assistant superintendent ” human resources. Therefore, up until this year, one person was in charge of both human resources and curriculum ” a wide scope of oversight for one person that does not make the best sense, especially in light of our district’s current program improvement status. In my view, it’s critical that we make the district’s curriculum a priority. I have high hopes to fill this position in the near future.

By assembling a strong team of administrative professionals who each bring fresh ideas to their areas of expertise, vital areas of our school district operations will ultimately benefit.

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