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School Board chooses search firm for Superintendent

After former Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) Superintendent Max McGee announced his resignation earlier this fall, the school board appointed Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), a leadership firm from Illinois, to manage the hiring process of a new superintendent.

Four firms, including HYA, McPherson & Jacobson, Ray and Associates and Leadership Associates, all ran for the position. Leadership Associates had organized the last two superintendent searches for PAUSD. They selected Kevin Skelly in 2007 and Max Mcgee in 2014.

On Nov. 28, each of the four firms made 20-minute presentations to the school board followed by 40 minutes of questions. After the presentations, the school board unanimously voted in favor of HYA.

The firm was established in 1987, and it has conducted over 1,200 school board searches. HYA has had prior experience working in the Bay Area, conducting searches for the Ravenswood School District, Sequoia Union High School District, Cupertino Union School District, Portola Valley Elementary School District and the Woodside Elementary School District.

Currently, the District is headed by Interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks, who served as the head of human resources until being promoted upon McGee’s departure.

Although the Board has selected HYA, the Board made it clear they will make the final decision regarding the new superintendent.

“We, as a community, decide what we want. They will help us by doing a survey and community meetings, but ultimately it’s up to us.”

Board President Terry Godfrey

While former superintendent McGee works for HYA, he said he will not participate in the search.

“I am the Midwest President and do not handle searches in the Western region of the U.S.,” McGee said in an email. “I am so new to this job that I have not yet conducted a superintendent search, and most of my work will likely be with the Analytics, Strategic Planning, School and District Improvement Apps side of the house.”

The school board indicated that McGee’s new position at HYA did not affect their decision to select the firm.

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