The Williams Unified School District Board of Trustees hit the ground running at their first meeting in 2021 to find a new superintendent of schools by July 1.
The board approved a contract on Jan. 21 with Leadership Associates to help them identify and recruit a candidate that will best help the district move forward, following their dismissal of Edgar Lampkin in December.
Leadership Associates assisted the Colusa Unified School District in their recruitment in 2020 of Jeff Turner, and what Colusa got – Williams wants.
While the district cannot legally require a superintendent to live in the city, Williams school officials hope to recruit a superintendent willing to become an active participant in the school and community, much like when Interim Superintendent Bill Cornelius was a principal in Williams and volunteered with the local fire department.
They also want a chief executive that will responsibly implement board policies and directives that ensure student achievement.
“When we went to school here, all the teachers lived here and all the administrators who worked here, lived in the community,” said School Board President Pat Ash. “Now we have just a place to gather a check and go home.”
According to Leadership Associates’ proposal, which the trustees approved on a 4-0 vote, the consultants plan to move swiftly to hold special meetings via Zoom with the board, staff, and community to determine the characteristics, skills, and qualities desired in a new superintendent.
The firm will then advertise and actively recruit a candidate through the March 1 application deadline.
The board anticipates reviewing applications and selecting finalists for interviews by the end of March, and anticipates having the appropriate candidate approved by April 15.
Meanwhile, Cornelius is contracted to remain at the helm through the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, which ends June 30.
The board approved Leadership Associates’ $16,000 contract to find a superintendent that is the right fit for the school district and the community.
“The cost compared to other firms is very low, very reasonable,” Cornelius said. “You will definitely for sure get your money’s worth out of it.”
The school board last week also made several moves to shake off Lampkin’s controversial legacy, including cutting ties with the previous board’s legal counsel, a Bay Area firm that also represents the non-profit previously headed by Lampkin’s wife. The board approved a new contract with the same firm that represents Colusa and a number of other schools in the area, on a vote of 4-0, with Trustee Sylvia Vaca not in attendance.
They also voted to form a committee to look at whether it was feasible to keep or sell the $500,000 property the previous board purchased, at Lampkin’s recommendation, as a possible location for a district office or for future school expansion.
The board also agreed to drop the $78,000 a year consultant that helped with the digital media class, although the program will continue to be offered next year, possibly under a new title.
Cornelius will also be looking at matching classes to teachers’ credentials, and will be looking at the abundance of costly software programs the previous board authorized at Lampkin’s direction for possible elimination.
Members of the public, along with union representatives for the teachers and classified staff, said they like the direction the school district is headed under new leadership. ♣