In search of the perfect candidate
Burton School District seeks successor for Gary Mekeel
In search of the perfect candidate
The Burton School District continued Wednesday with its search for a superintendent by interviewing district Deputy Superintendent Sharon Kamberg for the position during a special open-session board meeting.
Kamberg, former assistant superintendent who was named deputy superintendent in August, has been with the district for 20-plus years.
“The board wants to make sure they make a wise decision in replacing a very successful superintendent,” Kamberg said.
Gary Mekeel, who has served as the district’s superintendent since July 1, 2009, and also from 1990 to 2006, will retire in June.
Wednesday’s interview was the result of a decision made Jan. 17 during a special meeting with a study session to review the board’s interest, process and criteria in the selection of the district’s superintendent succession. At that meeting, Mekeel and the board debated several options, including searching from within the district and obtaining a consultant to recruit from outside the district.
Wednesday’s meeting was mainly for the interview, said Eddie Hernandez, chairman of the board.
“We have two new board members, John Burkey and Shelbie Akin, and this was mainly for them since they have not known Sharon for a long time,” Hernandez said. “We interviewed her, wanting to give her the first opportunity as we continue on our search for a superintendent.”
Hernandez said the interview process went well, stating Kamberg meets all the requirements desired in the new superintendent, including holding a doctorate and experience with the district.
“She’s been here 20-plus years. She’s grown through the ranks. And it is my belief as a board member to grow our own,” Hernandez said. “She has her hands on the Common Core and has the credentials to go to any district. She spoke very well.”
Hernandez said his concern to the board was finding someone with longevity to the district, pointing out current and former superintendents, Mekeel and the late John Buckley, were both long-term with the district.
“In the past, we’ve been a revolving door for administrators,” Hernandez said.
During Wednesday’s interview, plenty of questions were asked.
The board was interested in Kamberg’s vision for the district and where she sees it in five to 10 years.
“I believe Burton School District does many things well. We have a reputation of being a ‘lighthouse district’ for Tulare County,” Kamberg said. “I believe in the near future we will have completed our implementation of the Common Core standards. This alone will assist in continuing the board’s focus on a rigorous, academic education for all students.”
The board’s goal of providing a 21st century education for all students continues to be a focus, she said.
Kamberg also talked about her interest in continuing coaching efforts to assist staff in refining and adjusting classroom instruction to meet the demands for change, specifically the Common Core assessment.
“The in-house professional development provided to our staff continues to ensure all stakeholders that we are actively pursuing that goal of educating students to meet the demands of the 21st century,” Kamberg said. “My commitment to promote programs to ensure the needs of all students are addressed with specific attention to our most fragile learners.”
Hernandez said he hopes the board will arrive at a consensus of whether to stay in-house or go out of the district in the search by the next board meeting, scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Feb. 21. at the Burton School District Board Room, 264 N. Westwood St.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.