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San Diego Unified School District's search for a new superintendent continues. On April 8, nearly 50 educators, parents, and school district staff assembled inside Porter Elementary School's auditorium in southeast San Diego for the first of five "town hall meetings."

The forums are an opportunity for the public to help redefine the superintendent's job description and to express the type of superintendent they feel would be a good fit for the eighth largest district in the country.

Shortly after the meeting began, board member Shelia Jackson took the microphone at the front of the room and explained the school district's "untraditional" approach to finding the next superintendent. The approach includes the formation of a 15-person committee tasked to come up with a clear job description and to select the top seven candidates that apply for the position. It also includes holding five town hall meetings in different areas of the district.

By improving public outreach campaign and implementing the "untraditional" approach, San Diego Unified hopes to expel the impression that the district is unable to hold on to superintendents —— in five years, the district has had five different superintendents, including current interim superintendent Bill Kowba.

After Jackson's introduction, much of Thursday's two-hour forum was spent with the audience branched off in three groups. Each group wrote on large sheets of easel paper the qualities they feel the next superintendent should possess.

Later, a representative from each group addressed the audience, revealing the preferred qualities of the group. Some common themes: the new superintendent should know San Diego, have a multicultural background or at least relate to a multicultural environment. They preferred an educator, one that is willing to visit the schools and can understand the perspectives of teachers, students, and administrators.

The next town hall meeting is set for April 14 at 8 p.m. at University City High School.

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CuddleFish April 10, 2010 @ 8:09 a.m.

Nice bit of reporting, Dorian, as always.

This meeting is typical of Richard's style, he is a big believer in the open democratic process. He is also staunchly labor, so I will not be surprised if the teachers' union has a big say in who our next supervisor will be. Lastly, as a leader himself, he places a lot of value in leadership. It will be interesting, as a reflection on him, to see who they hire.

I personally was a huge fan of Terry Grier. I am hopeful that the process of healing and stabilization he started will continue.

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