Five finalists chosen for Oxnard superintenent post

Oxnard Union High School District officials plan to appoint a new superintendent before the end of the month.

In May, the district hired former superintendent Gary Davis, who retired in 2005, to help lead the search for a new chief. Superintendent Bob Carter announced in April that he would resign effective June 30. After that announcement, he told trustees he planned to take much of his vacation time before June 30.

Davis’ plan was to have a new superintendent named by the end of July, and he told trustees at their meeting Wednesday night that the district was on track to meet that goal.

“Progress has been made. Things, I think, are coming along very well for the sake of the district,” Davis said.

The district received 20 applications by the July 1 deadline. Officials are keeping the names confidential.

No internal candidates applied, Davis said. Two of the applicants were sitting superintendents, eight were assistant superintendents and one worked in the private sector but had prior experience in education. Other applicants held various positions in other school districts.

Applications were screened, and nine candidates were interviewed by a panel Monday. That panel included two trustees, parents, district staff and other community members. They narrowed the list to five semifinalists.

Superintendent searches typically happen early in the year, but Oxnard Union officials said their timing didn’t seem to cause a problem.

“A lot of people said the timing was wrong to find a superintendent. But let me tell you, we had nine highly qualified individuals coming through,” said Trustee John Alamillo, who sat on the panel.

Trustee Wayne Edmonds, also on the search panel, said he was impressed by the questions asked during the interviews and the process in general. “I was pleased with the parent and community representation,” he told trustees Wednesday.

The five semifinalists will participate in a second round of interviews this coming Monday. All five are from California, Davis said.

Those interviews will be with a second panel that includes two trustees, parents and other community members. Plans call for that panel to narrow the field to two or three finalists, who will be interviewed again by trustees at a special board meeting July 23.

At that closed-door meeting, the board could pick someone. If a decision is made, the board will make an announcement in open session.

Trustee Steve Stocks is out of state on vacation and is expected to be absent until August. District officials said they will look at options for him to participate in the appointment process by telephone.

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