District advances in superintendent search


Layla Healey

JG Consultants was chosen to conduct the district’s superintendent search following Ted Moore’s resignation in February.

Representatives of JG Consulting addressed the board of trustees and community members during a special meeting at the high school on April 9 to express their goals in the search to find the district’s next superintendent. The board selected JG Consulting to conduct the search during the March 20 regular meeting.

James Guerra, CEO of JG Consulting, said a main message they hope to put across is the fact they are here to represent the district as a whole.

“One of the things that we want to do tonight is to hear from you,” Guerra said. “It’s incredibly important to incorporate your voices as we engage in the superintendent search process.”

A survey was released to the community on April 2, asking questions about the characteristics that are important to see in the future superintendent. According to Guerra, more than 700 responses were recorded and the results were “unbelievable.”

“[The participants] have blown it out of the water in terms of the online survey,” Guerra said. “I couldn’t tell you even by comparison to that of other high performing districts we alluded to in California. They had 200 online surveys, which was the highest up until this week of working within the Lovejoy district. We’ve had about 710 responses in a  four weeks time period. So, a huge testament to the work that [the participants] have done.”

The meeting allowed community members to openly voice their opinions about the search.

“[I hope JG Consulting finds a] superintendent who understands the financial needs of our district and how to work a budget, so that we can keep the great programs in place and understand how to get rid of the waste that maybe we don’t necessarily need in the district,” Jennifer Klein said.

Richard Karen said he wanted to see unity in the district.

“[I hope to see] someone who is a uniter who can bring this district together and to continue to build on the success and understand that we can improve it,” Karen said.

According to Guerra, the reports will be compiled into an overall report to present to the school board.

“We will synthesize everything that we hear this evening and from all the other meetings that we have with the Board of Trustees, provide a summative report back to the board and it’s going to help inform and drive the profile development based on the information that we’ve gathered,” Guerra said.

In May, the board is planning for in-person interviews and are striving to make a final decision in the first part of June. Guerra said the goal for JG Consulting is to “ensure the new superintendent will have plenty of time to become adjusted to the community.”

“But our intention is that the new superintendent will have plenty of runway during the summer months to get acclimated to the community and get to know everybody and then hit the ground running really hard during the next calendar school year,” Guerra said.

As the meeting came to an end, Guerra said this meeting was “a critically important step in the process.” He referred to Lovejoy as a “district of choice.”

“You have a high volume of interest of candidates wanting to serve here,” Guerra said. “I think the board will have a difficult decision to make because of the quality of candidates that they’ll have to choose from, which is a good problem to have.”