By Mary O’KEEFE
Dr. Richard Sheehan, superintendent of Glendale Unified School District, has taken the superintendent position at Covina-Valley Unified School District.
The announcement was made at a special board meeting of the Covina-Valley Unified School District Tuesday night.
“It is bittersweet,” Sheehan said of his departure from GUSD. “I love Glendale. I love the work we have done here.”
He praised the “hard working” teachers, the administration, staff and “the kids are awesome.”
Sheehan took over the GUSD superintendent position after Dr. Michael Escalante retired in 2010.
Looking back, Sheehan said he has seen several changes in the district since he began as superintendent, from new technology in the classroom to the implementation of Common Core.
“When I took over as superintendent, the teachers were talking about going out on strike,” he said. “We had gone through the fact-finding process and were able to come to an agreement. [We now have] a positive working relationship between the teachers’ union and the district. That was huge.”
He said he felt that during his tenure at GUSD, the district moved forward in technology and instruction.
Although he enjoyed working in Glendale, his new job will really bring him back home. Sheehan attended schools from kindergarten to 12 in the CVUSD and his kids attend those schools. One son will graduate this year and the other is a sophomore.
“And I will have a two-minute commute to work,” he added. The district office is three blocks from his home.
He worked at CVUSD as a teacher for 17 years and later as a principal at Northview High School and director of curriculum and instruction at the district office. He replaces Catherine Nichols who announced her retirement earlier.
CVUSD is about half the size of the Glendale district and has been embroiled in controversy recently with staff arrested on charges ranging from financial to sexual misconduct.
What Sheehan’s departure means for Glendale is a hunt for a new superintendent that will begin immediately. At a special meeting Tuesday night, the GUSD board discussed hiring a search firm to reach out to qualified candidates.
Sheehan said the firm should be chosen by June 16 and the search will begin shortly thereafter. There will be community outreach to parents, community leaders, teachers and students to share what they would like to see in a new superintendent. Sheehan will be on hand through the schools’ graduations on June 3.
“My last day is June 30,” he said.
That does not mean the superintendent will be chosen by that date.
“[The board] will go with an interim superintendent while the selection process continues,” Sheehan said.
GUSD Plans for Future
By Jason KUROSU
GUSD Superintendent Dr. Richard Sheehan has accepted a position with the Covina-Valley Unified School District, necessitating a search for a new superintendent to lead Glendale’s schools.
The GUSD board of education discussed the process for replacing Sheehan during a special meeting Tuesday night, laying the groundwork for a search process that will get underway, continuing through the summer. Sheehan will succeed Covina-Valley Unified Superintendent Catherine Nichols, who announced her retirement plans in March.
GUSD Board President Greg Krikorian said that the district would “step up the timeline” to seek a replacement for Sheehan, beginning with the hiring of a consultant or firm to help the district select a worthy candidate.
Krikorian said that Superintendent Sheehan recommended the hiring of consultants in order to maintain impartiality during the evaluation process and allow board members to focus on district business.
GUSD Board Vice President Christine Walters said the hiring of a third party “will help us to organize the process and make sure we get the best breadth of qualified candidates.”
The board will begin hearing proposals from consultants immediately, with a June 5 submission deadline for prospective consultants. The board hopes to select a consultant or firm at their June 16 board meeting. The district is also planning to hold community meetings for gathering public input once the consultant or firm is selected, giving stakeholders a chance to weigh in on their criteria for the next superintendent.
The district will also consider having an interim superintendent for “two to four months” until an official replacement is chosen.
Doing so would ensure “we don’t rush the process to find the right candidate,” said Krikorian.
Board members expressed that they did not want to see Sheehan leave, but that it made sense for him to want to work in Covina, where he lives and has history with the school district. Sheehan was formerly the principal at Northview High School and a teacher at Covina High.
“We’re going to deeply miss him,” said Krikorian.
“We had slated Dr. Sheehan to be here until he retired,” said Walters, who said that Sheehan’s acceptance to work with the Covina-Valley district where he served as a principal, teacher and student, was “certainly understandable.”
Sheehan’s last day as GUSD superintendent will be June 30.