• Norgaard: Search for Kleinrock’s Successor to Begin Immediately

    by Mitch Lehman

    The San Marino School Board will discuss in closed session next Tuesday afternoon the necessary steps to replace Superintendent Loren Kleinrock, who announced earlier this month he will be retiring when his contract expires on June 30, 2014.

    “We certainly expect to have someone in place when Loren’s contract ends on June 30,” said  School Board President Chris Norgaard. “I would hope that within three or four months we will have someone selected and ready to go.”

    Norgaard also said there is “no particular time frame” for securing a replacement and the district will “begin the search effort to secure a successor immediately.”

    He also said the district will post the opening on EdCal, a weekly web and print education publication.

    “We intend to explore various avenues,” Norgaard added.

    The district last went about the process of finding a new superintendent in 2007, when Gary Woods was selected to replace the retiring Jack Rose. At that time, a small but vocal group expressed opposition to the search technique, which did not allow for the names of candidates to be released to the public. Norgaard said the district would use the same method to find Kleinrock’s successor.

    “We will not publicize the names of candidates,” Norgaard said. “One obvious reason for this approach is that in many if not most cases, the candidates do not want their names released. Those who do not get the position do not want their current employers to know they were looking for another job. In my experience with this type of search, that is a uniform practice.”

    Calling the process “an open search,” Norgaard said “everyone is encouraged to apply from inside or outside the district. During the process, we will receive input from stakeholders including the search criteria and profile and we will also hold meetings.”

    The SMUSD contracted with a search firm, Leadership Associates, when Woods was hired. After Woods was identified as the leading candidate, a contingent from San Marino traveled to Aptos – the district in Northern California where Woods was then employed as an assistant superintendent – to meet with co-workers and others in positions of influence with Woods.

    That group from the SMUSD included school board personnel, PTA members, district faculty, a representative from the San Marino High School ASB and members of the community at-large.

    Norgaard said that Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Linda de la Torre is currently gathering information for the process.

    “We will probably not be in a position to select a search firm by next Tuesday, but we will have made the decision if we are using a search firm or not by Tuesday,” said Norgaard.

    Kleinrock began his three-year stint as Superintendent on July 1, 2011, when Woods accepted a similar post in Beverly Hills. Kleinrock had an option on his contract to extend through the 2014-15 school year, but decided to move along. During his more than forty year tenure at the SMUSD, he served as social studies teacher; resource specialist teacher; coach for football, soccer, and baseball; San Marino High School’s assistant principal of activities, discipline, and attendance; and principal of Huntington Middle and San Marino High Schools.

    In other district business, Norgaard said the board is still waiting for information from the State regarding the budget and said that the SMUSD must come up with a “local control accountability plan” which – ironically – must be submitted to the State for approval.

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