OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Seattle Pursues Anaheim City School District Superintendent José Banda

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 20, 2012

Jose Banda

Anaheim City School District Superintendent José Banda

The Seattle Times contacted OC Political informing us that Anaheim City School District Superintendent José Banda is one of three finalists for Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools.  (It does appear that OC Political is the first California-based source other than ACSD with this news.)

On Monday, Banda will tour three schools in the 48,000-student Seattle Public Schools system, meet with the Seattle School Board, and interview with a focus group.  On Tuesday, Banda will meet the Seattle news media at a press conference.

Another finalist, San Ramon Valley Unified School District Superintendent Steven Enoch will do the tour, meeting, and interview on Tuesday, with the press conference on Wednesday.  The third finalist, Salem-Keizer Public Schools Superintendent Sandra Husk, will do the tour, meeting, and interview on Wednesday, with the press conference on Thursday.

The Seattle School Board plans to announce in early May who they’ve selected as Superintendent.  The new Seattle Superintendent would then start on July 1.

Banda has been the Superintendent of ACSD since July 2008 when eight-year Superintendent Sandra Barry retired to donate one of her kidneys to her son.  Banda was the Deputy Superintendent of the Oceanside Unified School District from 2005-2008 and the Superintendent of the Planada Elementary School District in Merced County from 2002-2005.  He also served on the school board of the Salida Union School District in the 1990s.

Here’s an excerpt from the Seattle Times article:

Of the finalists, Banda comes from a district most unlike Seattle.

The Anaheim City School District is an elementary-school-only district of about 20,000 students. It’s an inner-city district, with students whose parents typically work at Disneyland or the hotels that surround the amusement park.

Eighty-six percent of the students are Latino, and about 60 percent are classified as English Language Learners. “It’s a pretty big challenge here,” said Peter Daniels, a district spokesman.

Student achievement has improved there during Banda’s four-year tenure: The district’s Academic Performance Index, a statewide measure of student achievement, has risen significantly under Banda, and several schools have surpassed the state’s benchmark score.

“We could all make excuses for why our students don’t achieve: They come from poverty; there’s not a sufficient grasp of the English language,” Banda said in an interview. But instead, he said, he instilled in staff members the idea that every student has potential.

Banda is a fluent Spanish speaker, the son of migrant workers. He touts his community involvement and serves on several local boards.

He is proud of shepherding through a $169 million construction measure in 2010 that addressed overcrowding, a problem that has plagued the district for years.

Banda has spent 30 years in the field of education, including as a high-school principal. Before Anaheim, he was superintendent of the Planada School District and deputy superintendent at Oceanside Unified School District, both in California.

In a statement posted on the Anaheim City School District web site yesterday, Banda stated:

Dear Anaheim City School District Friends:

I’m writing to inform you of an important development as I have been selected as one of three finalists for the superintendency of Seattle Public Schools.  As a finalist, I will be in Seattle during the week of April 23 to meet with the School Board and the 25-member Community Focus Group, as well as tour several Seattle schools.

Seattle Public Schools distributed a press release on April 19 to the major media outlets in the Pacific Northwest region.  I have been told that board members, principals, staff, parents and community leaders may receive a call from reporters.  I felt it was important to share this news with you prior to the anticipated media coverage.  Our Communications office is also anticipating local media coverage from the OC Register and community papers.

I wanted to personally share this with you because of the relationships we have built over the past four years.  It is important to me to maintain the trust and support of our entire school community.  I am proud of the work occurring here in Anaheim and credit my success in this highly-competitive search to what we have accomplished together here in the District.

Please know that I am honored to serve as Superintendent of Anaheim City School District.  When I was presented with this possibility, I felt it was a professional and personal growth opportunity that I needed to pursue.  I will continue to update you on the outcome of the selection process and look forward to our continued partnership to benefit the students of Anaheim.

José Banda, Superintendent

Here’s the press release from Seattle Public Schools:

The Seattle School Board on Thursday, April 19, announced three finalists for Superintendent: José L. Banda, Steven W. Enoch and Sandra L. Husk.

The finalists were selected as part of a national search to find the next leader for Seattle Public Schools. The hiring committee selected the three finalists using desired characteristics and traits defined by the community, including: a visionary, inspirational leader; an instructional leader who has a proven track record; a knowledgeable manager and an effective communicator. The full list of traits is outlined online at http://bit.ly/SuperintendentSearchSite.

The finalists will be in Seattle during the week of April 23 to meet with the School Board and the 25-member Community Focus Group, as well as tour several Seattle schools.

“We are moving forward these strong candidates for the next phase of interviews,” said School Board President Michael DeBell. “We are looking forward to getting to know the candidates better, and finding a leader who is the best fit for our school district.”

A 12-person Search Committee helped narrow the pool of 42 applicants to a group of semi-finalists, who were interviewed by the committee last week. Members of the committee included the Board Directors, and one representative from each of the following: the Seattle Council PTSA, the District’s central administration, the Seattle Education Association (SEA), the Principals’ Association of Seattle Schools (PASS) and Local 609 (the International Union of Operating Engineers).

A 25-person Community Focus Group will meet with each candidate next week and make a recommendation to the School Board. The media will also have an opportunity to interview each of the candidates. The School Board makes the final determination, and expects to offer the position to the top candidate in May.

Mr. Banda will be in Seattle on April 23-24, Mr. Enoch on April 24-25 and Dr. Husk on April 25-26.

The public can offer feedback to the School Board at schoolboard@seattleschools.org.

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