Education

First round of LAUSD superintendent search winding down

School board members Steve Zimmer and Monica Ratliff during an April 29, 2014 school board committee meeting.
School board members Steve Zimmer and Monica Ratliff during an April 29, 2014 school board committee meeting.
Mary Plummer/KPCC

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The Los Angeles Unified School District's seven school board members are spending this week and the weekend conducting confidential interviews with their top candidates for school superintendent. 

The school board members met with candidates last weekend and Tuesday; the next round of interviews is set for Sunday.

In this first round school board members are asking candidates scripted questions. Those questions and the candidate list are confidential, and that’s created a lot of speculation about who’s in the running to head the nation’s second largest school district.

The school board told the search firm to look for candidates who’ve worked as teachers and principals in urban schools and can plan for the long term future of the school district. And if that wasn’t enough, they want a candidate with the political skills to rally the private sector and labor unions to improve LA schools.

A lot is riding on the selection. The school district is struggling to raise academic performance while employee costs challenge its long-term future and charter school operators recruit more students from traditional campuses.

The school board wants a new superintendent by the New Year, three weeks from this Friday.