The Sweetwater Union High School District’s board of trustees came back from closed session Monday night to appoint Assistant Superintendent Sandra Huezo to lead the district for about a week.
The board voted 3-2 to remove Huezo from her assistant superintendent job and appoint her as the temporary interim superintendent.
“Sandra Huezo is not the interim superintendent, she was appointed interim for the interim,” said board president Frank Tarantino. “So the search for the interim superintendent is still going on.”
Former interim superintendent Tim Glover resigned from the district Feb. 18, leaving the largest secondary school district in California without a leader.
Before Glover’s resignation, he selected director and lead principal Ramon Leyba and Huezo as the district’s duty officers to fill the superintendent void for the time being.
But after a recent meeting with one of the district’s attorneys, board members decided to move forward.
“We were advised by our legal counsel that there is no permanent position as duty officer that’s listed in the education code,” Tarantino said. “We were kind of out of compliance so we needed to appoint an interim for the interim in order to get back into compliance.”
Tarantino said a duty officer should only assume the responsibilities of the superintendent only when the superintendent is not at the district, for example when attending an out of town conference or on vacation.
The board president said Leyba was not considered for the interim position because he hadn’t made up his mind if he wanted to apply for the permanent job.
The school district’s attorney Dan Shinoff said an appointment brings the school district in compliance with the education code by having an interim superintendent in place.
“But just as a broad issue, the issue (the district) that I think they are alluding to is to make sure that they’re in compliance with having an interim in place,” he said.
Shinoff said his interpretation of the California Education codes state that school districts are required to have a superintendent at the helm.
“Not that the duty officer wouldn’t cut it, it’s just that the education code refers to a superintendent,” he said.
Tarantino said the board will interview candidates for the interim role on March 12 in closed session, and he said the board is expected to select a permanent interim on the same day.
Tarantino expects the permanent interim to guide the district for up to four months until a permanent superintendent is named.
As of Tuesday, Tarantino said there have only been two applicants for the interim job.
The governing body took a major step Monday in its search for a permanent superintendent by selecting The Cosca Group as its search firm.
The Cosca Group was one of three consulting groups that responded to the district’s request for proposal.
Tarantino said he expects the superintendent search to be a statewide search, not nationwide.
“The fact that The Cosca Group concentrates most of its searches in California I think sends the message that it’s not going to be a nationwide search,” he said.
“Like I said before, all of the nationwide searches that have been conducted by the Sweetwater Union High School District don’t go beyond Texas.”
Tarantino expects a permanent superintendent to be in place by July.