The search for a new captain to take the helm of the Culver City Unified School District is well underway.
Board of Education President Steven Gourley says the district will begin taking applications in the next month or so, and he hopes to have the field of candidates narrowed down to two by January.
The board has enlisted executive search firm the Cosca Group to find a new superintendent to replace Dr. Myrna Rivera-Cote, who unexpectedly left the district at the end of the 2009-10 academic year to head the El Rancho School District in Pico Rivera.
Meanwhile, Interim Superintendent Patti Jaffe will keep CCUSD running until a permanent replacement takes over.
Gourley said he wants to find a superintendent whose goals are more in line with those of the board of education, saying that there was often contention between Rivera-Cote and the panel. Rivera-Cote and the board members went toe-to-toe on a number of issues, particularly regarding how to deal with the district's ongoing budget crisis, he said.
"I want someone who realizes that the board runs the school district, not the other way around," Gourley said.
The Cosca Group plans to start the search by gathering input from the board, members of the community, teachers and other stakeholders in an attempt to chose the superintendent best suited to lead CCUSD, he said.
Don Brann, Frank Cosca and Frank Tyrrell of the Cosca Group—who will handle CCUSD's superintendent search—could not be reached for comment.
On Tuesday morning, parents dropping off their children at Farragut Elementary, Culver City Middle School and Culver City High School weighed in on the search.
"I think the district looks out more for itself…than the schools," said parent Jerry Van Loo, adding that teachers and students have had to shoulder too much of the burden in regard to budget cuts. "I would like to see a superintendent have the guts to lay some more of the burden on the district and not the schools."
Shawnita Bell, who has a daughter at Farragut Elementary and another at Culver Middle School, said she did not know much about Rivera-Cote, but wanted to see a superintendent really get to know the schools on an individual basis.
Bell said a superintendent "who's more hands on school-to-school," would be ideal, as would someone who would work to bring more extracurricular activities to the city's middle and high schools.
Next week, parents will have the opportunity to tell the board and its search team directly what they want to see in a superintendent.
A community forum will take place Sept. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the district office boardroom at 4034 Irving Place.