The San Antonio Independent School District is looking for a new superintendent. In September, our former superintendent, Pedro Martinez, announced that he had accepted the position of CEO of Chicago Public Schools. His departure set a search in motion for a new superintendent for SAISD.
On September 21, the SAISD school board voted to hire interim superintendent Dr. Robert Jaklich to head the district while we recruit and hire a new leader. Dr. Jaklich is a retired superintendent who has led both Victoria and Harlandale ISDs. The board also retained the search firm JG Consulting to assist with the recruiting and hiring process. Our goal is to identify, recruit and hire a high-quality candidate by the end of the school year.
‘Superintendent’ is a big job. A superintendent works with a publicly elected school board to set goals for school district performance, and advises the school board on the need for policies. The superintendent is also responsible for implementing the policies that the board adopts. A superintendent provides leadership and oversees the day-to-day operations of the school district — responsible for personnel, budgeting and facilities management.
The superintendent is also responsible for communicating and working with teachers and staff, families, students, community stakeholders, and local, state and federal officials. It is a demanding job that requires a broad set of skills and experience. It’s also a position that requires a deep understanding of, and respect for the community being served. This is one of the main reasons why the board has been committed to getting community input in creating the Leadership Profile of our future superintendent.
This profile is the document that JG Consulting will use to advertise the position. It describes the experience, skills and traits our superintendent should have, and it provides information about our community and our needs and expectations for our next leader. To create this profile, the board directed JG Consulting to facilitate community town halls, stakeholder listening sessions, and an online survey to gather community input regarding the type of leader our next superintendent should be.
Between January 21st and February 8th, JG Consulting heard from 740 individuals at a series of townhalls and stakeholder meetings, and they collected 1,533 survey responses. At the February 10th board meeting, representatives from JG praised SAISD staff and our community, telling us that this was the most robust public engagement process they have seen in their seven years of operation. A summary of the community engagement efforts, along with a timeline for the superintendent search can be found here.
Our community engagement efforts have positioned us for a successful superintendent search. This is incredibly important in the current education environment. COVID-19 has hit public education hard. It’s been a difficult two years for students, families and school workers. Superintendents have not been immune to the stressors of the pandemic, and across the country, we are seeing an unprecedented number of superintendents leaving their jobs. Our district will be competing with many others across the state and the country to find a high-quality leader.
The Leadership Profile we have created as a community is an inspiring vision and demonstrates the commitment that our community has for providing high-quality education to our children. I am confident that we will attract excellent candidates and that we will be able to bring in the superintendent who can best lead our district into the future.
Sarah Sorensen is our district's representative on the SAISD Board of Trustees
The Leadership Profile we have created as a community is an inspiring vision and demonstrates the commitment that we have for providing high-quality education.