With the departure of Eugene School District 4J Superintendent Gus Balderas in late June, the 4J board must select a replacement. The board is planning to hire a one-year interim superintendent from within the ranks of current 4J administrators. In this time of uncertainty, the temptation to fast-track the process is understandable. However, the question must be: What is the prudent process and timeline?
Because of the recent controversy in the selection of Jim Torrey to replace Evangelina Sundgrenz, it is essential that the board garner public trust. This means that the process must be transparent; must provide authentic opportunity for quality community input; and must provide a confidential way for current district employees to voice their pertinent experiences with any in-house district candidates.
To take meaningful and serious steps to secure public trust, the board must allow for a reasonable timeline. Because the board will be accepting only in-house candidates, the need to rush the process is unnecessary; the new interim superintendent will not be an outsider, but one familiar with 4J’s systems and issues.
It is imperative for the 4J board to create a hiring process and timeline that is deeply committed to public trust.