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Clark County School Board takes first step to kick off superintendent search

The trustees hope to have a new superintendent in place by November, and will begin negotiating employment terms with the interim leader.
Rocio Hernandez
Rocio Hernandez
EducationK-12 Education

The Clark County School Board took its first official step in its search for a new superintendent Wednesday, approving a request for proposal (RFP) to hire an individual or firm to assist it in the process. The board is looking to hire a new superintendent by Nov. 1 or earlier. 

According to a draft of the RFP, the selected firm’s responsibilities include helping the board establish criteria for a desired candidate and conducting in-depth reference checks and background checks. The board may conduct a community survey and hold public hearings before a firm is selected, but didn’t indicate whether this would happen. 

The firm would identify and encourage applications from qualified candidates who are from public education, higher education, private profit and nonprofit sectors, military or other branches of government.

The board expects to hold no more than six public hearings to hear from parents, students, employees, employee bargaining groups and other community members on what they would like to see from the next superintendent. 

It doesn’t specify how many qualified finalist candidates the firm is expected to bring to the board. 

Board President Evelyn Garcia Morales said the RFP will be out for three weeks and expects the district’s procurement office to present the board with a list of possible vendors by mid-May. 

The board set a target start date for the new superintendent for Nov. 1 or sooner, and directed the board’s liaison Joe Caruso and Garcia Morales to flesh out the timeline for the superintendent search. Garcia Morales said the board may need to hold special meetings to ensure the process moves along without major delays. 

Trustees Linda Cavazos and Lola Brooks asked for interested vendors to disclose if they are affiliated with any organizations that the Clark County School District works with. 

The board hasn’t decided yet whether it will pursue a local or nationwide search. 

According to documents attached to the agenda for the board’s Feb. 22 meeting, a national search could cost the district $60,000 to $100,000 and take between three to six months. Under that scenario, the board would work with a firm which would vet potential candidates and could present three to five finalists to the school board. 

A search limited to local candidates or candidates within the state could cost between $1,000 to $20,000 and could take one to two months. In that arrangement, the board would vet potential candidates and all submitted applications would be shared with the public. 

Jessica Jones, secretary of the district’s teachers union, Clark County Education Association,  urged the board to hold community meetings related to the superintendent search outside of traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. working hours so that educators, parents, students and other community members can attend. 

Paul Moradkhan, senior vice president government affairs for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, said the superintendent search shouldn’t be limited by geography, familiarity or expense. He recommends the board work with a firm that has a track record in identifying well-qualified candidates who can inspire educators to do their best. 

Bryan Wachter with the Retail Association of Nevada said the board shouldn’t limit itself to firms that specialize in education leadership in order to find a qualified candidate who can oversee a large, multifaceted organization such as CCSD. 

“Now might be the time to look outside the box and find someone uniquely suited to the billion dollar enterprise you run,” he said. 

Upcoming negotiations with interim superintendent

The school board also voted Wednesday to direct its counsel to negotiate an employment agreement with interim Superintendent Brenda Larsen-Mitchell, the district’s deputy superintendent who has been serving in the role since former Superintendent Jesus Jara’s resignation in February. 

The board didn’t specify what employment terms would be up for negotiation. 

“I'm simply asking the board for permission to consider permission for counsel to enter into negotiations with the interim superintendent,” Garcia Morales said. “Once it's decided what the items that are negotiated, we’ll come back to the board of trustees at a public meeting for a vote on the interim contract.”

Before leaving the district, Jara earned an annual salary of $395,000. As deputy superintendent, Larsen-Mitchell makes nearly $220,000, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. 

This story was updated at 10:10 a.m. on 4/4/24 to correct the name of Paul Moradkhan, senior vice president government affairs for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.


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