Did the high-school district dodge a bullet with planned hire?

Now that David Linzey has withdrawn his application, I’m wondering if the Nevada Union Joint High School District dodged a proverbial bullet.

I did not jump for joy when I researched his background, and I’m not talking about taking gum away from the students, as I previously reported.

First, Linzey went from principal of a large compulsory high school — Huntington Beach High — to chief academic officer for the Alliance for College-Ready Schools to a consultant for Lynwood Unified School District. That sounded kind of backwards to me, unless he had some non-career related reasons for the job changes.

Linzey also had applied for — but did not get — a superintendent’s job in Pomona. In fairness, it went to an insider but Linzey had worked at the school before, as I first reported.

In addition, he didn’t seem to have recent experience working with unions in the difficult task of reducing costs while maintaining the quality of education or the bigger world of business.

Lindsey was offered a one-year contract or year-to-year contract, just like his predecessor, my sources said. But he turned it down.

I don’t think the headhunter did a very good job of finding the right candidate — something I’ve experienced in the business world before. I also think the school board could have more closely scrutinized the hire, though many are not that experienced in education.

All told, I’m hoping that round two will be more successful. Our schools are at a crossroads, and we depend on them to add to the quality of life here, both for residents and newcomers.

I wish the local media would dig deeper in its school’s reporting, and I wish the schools would do a better job of communicating with the community than just handing a press release to the local newspaper.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

8 thoughts on “Did the high-school district dodge a bullet with planned hire?”

  1. My background, as I have mentioned before, includes 30 plus years in Employment Security.

    I don’t have a dog in the hunt but…always one of them some days, but is the school weeding out the best in the bunch by a one year contract? Seems to me, a good multi-year contract can be constructed for specific, measurable actions and goals to be met in order for the contract to kick in to, say year 2, and 3. After three a new contract if you wanna kept the person longer.

    It is like the old saying about government hiring lousy contractors (for example) but if the contract is written properly before it goes out to bid with the goals…and the work does not meet the contract, it is fixed immediately or the contractor does not get paid.

    That is my two cents. Perhaps someone at the school can think about that approach so you have the BEST possible pool.

    Heck, I love where I live but if I had a job like a school administrator, with all the stuff they have to deal with (while it is sometimes changing as you make decisions) I would not move 400 miles for the job.

    1. Heck, the Big Superintendents wind up moving all over the country, always just far enough away from the scene of their last fiasco so that nobody knows about them.

      They all get to play in the game of Musical Superintendents, no matter how many times they can’t deliver what they promise.

  2. Jeff,

    If wishes were horses, beggers would ride. I agree with Tony, time to go back to Go and start over. Get the community engaged. There are 2 new board members who need to be involved in this process now.

    Fire the headhunter and put together a local committee. Hiring good people is neither brain surgery nor rocket science. It’s just plain common sense once you’ve done it before.

    There’s a lot of great talent around here. Focus on the local.

    Michael A.

  3. There are a lot of expenses that go in to an employment contract that should be transparent to the public when the successful candidate negotiates a contract.

    The public never sees the fine print. Transfer and moving expenses are part of the deal. Packing, storage, transportation and delivery of household goods. Enroute expenses for lodging, meals and mileage Temporary lodging and meals for a reasonable period of time until the new employee and family buys or rents a home. Assistance in selling the home in the old location, including selling costs and mortgage maintenance until it is sold.

    Since most of the reimbursements above are reportable as income on state and federal returns, there may also be a withholding tax override to defray tax liability for the increase in reportable income.

  4. Any Candidate that has been a teacher for a few years can deal with the Teachers Union. A little perspective and a common goal is all it takes.

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