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  • Wednesday, July 26, 2017

     

    OUSD Upheaval

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    Just days from Christensen's retirement...
    Board's search for new OUSD Superintendent continues with a company familiar with controversy
    The OUSD Board does not yet have an Interim Superintendent in place as the search for a new Orange Unified School District Superintendent continues, despite having a four month notification of his retirement by current OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen.  Christensen's retirement announcement was made public four months ago on May 1, 2017, then setting  August 1st as his retirement date. 
    For more information Click on RETIREMENT

    This Thursday July 27th, just five working days before Christensen's now "effective retirement date" of August 2nd, and the OUSD Board of Education will just be getting "possible names" and discussing the process for hiring an Interim Superintendent according to the July 27th Agenda for Information Item 13 A (page 17).  The name for the position of Interim Superintendent will be provided by McPherson & Jacobson, the  school executive recruitment firm chosen to led the search for a new OUSD Superintendent.

    According to on-line documents, McPherson & Jacobson does not "recruit" for Interim Superintendents. The firm uses an internal list of  candidates who will provide interim superintendent  services.  The the firm's normal process for Interim Superintendent placement, according to a McPherson & Jacobson document (see link below), is that the firm provides just one candidate name at a time .


    This "one name" process that McPherson & Jacobson uses has led to past controversies (see "Caveat Emptor" section below).   If the one-name process is indeed the process   McPherson & Jacobson uses with OUSD, that is effectively having the McPherson & Jacobson CEO Dr. Thomas Jacobson "placing" the Interim Superintendent position without the promised Phase II community outreach stakeholders-which theoretically gives the firm an understanding of how to match candidates to the district (see  "Caveat Emptor"  section below).
    For more information Click on Sample report below

    In the past, those Interim Superintendent's provided by McPherson & Jacobson have had an inside track to the superintendent's position when McPherson & Jacobson  finally does post the position. The McPherson & Jacobson position postings are promised to include criteria that is based on the district's "stakeholder" input in the company's promised Phase II of its recruitment.

    The July 27th OUSD Agenda Item calls for a teleconferencing call from Dr. Thomas Jacobson the owner of the Omaha, Nebraska based McPherson & Jacobson a school executive recruitment firm chosen to find a new OUSD superintendent.  Dr. Thomas Jacobson is personally leading the search for OUSD.  

    For more information Click on




    Dr. Thomas Jacobson founded the firm in 1991 with his then university department chair Dan McPherson. Thomas then bought out his partner in Dan McPherson 1994. The small firm has placed about 500 superintendents using a decentralized consulting model with almost 100 part-time independent consultants spread nationwide in 38 states. The McPherson & Jacobson consultants basically moonlight for the firm which has led to some controversy when a consultant (many school principals and superintendents themselves) allegedly worked during their regular jobs moonlighting for McPherson & Jacobson.


    In 2014, the California School Boards Association "partnered" with McPherson & Jacobson as the association's "executive search team's partner". 

    At the time of the CSBA partnership, McPherson & Jacobson boasted  that 80%  of its hires were still in their positions 6 years later. Of the 20% that were not, some districts had significant problems with McPherson & Jacobson superintendents they claim were not properly vetted by   McPherson & Jacobson. From Pleasanton, California to Las Vegas, Nevada to Little Rock Arkansas and New London, Connecticut, the firm has been in the middle of some major controversies over  its recommended recruits.

    "Caveat Emptor" and McPherson & Jacobson
    While McPherson & Jacobson advertises since 1991 it has placed almost 500 superintendents,  major controversies over its recruits are industry legends. When these problems occur,   McPherson & Jacobson (despite its Phase III promise of checking and vetting candidates)  almost universally has stated it is the state government's responsibility to vet the credentials of the recruits.  In addition, there is that McPherson & Jacobson  two year guarantee.  However, as these recent cases below illustrate- when a superintendent recruit is fired, damage to the school district has already been done.  

    Pleasanton Unified
    Despite the McPherson & Jacobson "guarantee" of  a free new search ( actually only charging "costs" to a district)  to replace a Superintendent if a hired Superintendent "left" before 2 years, this year the Pleasanton Unified School Board in Pleasanton. California joined other districts that decided not to take McPherson & Jacobson up on their "two year guarantee". The Pleasanton Board fired McPherson & Jacobson recruit Superintendent Rick Rubino after 6 months for an "undisclosed" personal matter. That firing cost the Pleasanton Board  over  $264,000 contractually to fire Rubino.  

    The Pleasanton Board was then forced to apologize to the community.  The Pleasanton Weekly reported (see link below):

    Trustee Jamie Hintzke said she worked closely with the search firm's consultants as board president at the time, referencing unhappiness and "their unprofessionalism” without going into specifics.

    “It was completely frustrating,” Hintzke said of her dealings with the consultants. “I don't think it's worth having them make good on their contract.”

    For more information, click on: 


    New London School District
    In 2014, the New London School District in New London, Connecticut rescinded  the job offer for their superintendent position to Terrence P. Carter. Mr. Carter was recruited by McPherson & Jacobson for the New London School District position.  After the school board offered Carter the position, and he accepted, local investigative reporters discovered and reported that Carter's doctorate came from an on-line "diploma mill" - Lexington University. That unaccredited "school" advertised a doctorate degree for $225  as "Order Now, Graduate Today!" . In addition, they reported that Carter had filed two bankruptcies and that Carter's résumé included a degree from the University of Chicago, which the University reported Carter did not have, and a doctorate degree from Stanford University-which Stanford disclosed Carter had never attended.  

    In 2015, the New London School District demanded that McPherson & Jacobson refund the money the district paid to the firm for the search.  That same year, Mr. Carter sued the New London District for rescinding the employment offer.

    For more information, click on

    Little Rock Arkansas School District
    In 2013 Little Rock Arkansas School District got its first, but not last McPherson & Jacobson controversy with a McPherson & Jacobson recommended Interim Superintendent Dr. Walter Milton.  A community outcry eventually led to Dr. Milton not being hired as the new Little Rock Superintendent.

    For more information, click on


    Then, between 2015 and 2017, Little Rock Arkansas School District  had another McPherson & Jacobson Superintendent controversy blow up over alleged doctoral plagiarism by a McPherson & Jacobson screened and provided Interim Superintendent Dexter Suggs. That multi-year scandal led to Suggs doctorate being withdrawn and Suggs severance pay with the state of Arkansas ending.  The state government at one point also took over the beleaguered school district.  


      
    For a sampling of other McPherson & Jacobson controversies click on:


    McPherson & Jacobson OUSD Interim Superintendent 
    OUSD's long and winding road to a new Superintendent
    The Orange Unified quest for a new Superintendent did begin shortly after the retirement announcement  of the popular Superintendent Michael Christensen.  An internal email went out to OUSD leadership personal starting an internal search for a replacement Superintendent would be conducted. Numerous accounts from within OUSD had that very compressed  application process producing two candidates. Eventually one withdrew from consideration.

    Reportedly, at the Saturday June 10, 2017 Special Meeting of the OUSD Board of Education for Consideration of an Appointment of a Superintendent, the remaining candidate was not accepted-thus leading to the OUSD Board  to vote 4-3 to go forward in hiring a firm to help recruit a new superintendent.
    For more information click on June 10 Minutes

    Twelve days later, at the June 22nd Regular Board Meeting, the OUSD Board heard presentations from three executive search firms.  The June 22nd Agenda's Closed Session had an item for "Consideration of an Interim Superintendent", but no vote was reported out of the Closed Session and no Interim Superintendent was appointed.

    Nine days later, a Special Meeting was held on Saturday July 1st to select one of the three firms to recruit a superintendent.  At that meeting the Board voted to selected McPherson & Jacobson.

    Now on July 27th, twenty-six days later and just five working days before the retirement of Superintendent Michael Christensen,  Item 13 A has McPherson & Jacobson owner Dr. Thomas Jacobson presenting to the OUSD Board meeting by telephone from Omaha the "selection process"  for an Interim OUSD Superintendent.

    However more than that, Dr. Jacobson will provide "names and rankings of potential candidates" for the Interim OUSD Superintendent position.   As in other McPherson & Jacobson  recruitment cases, the inevitable Interim Superintendent will have an inside track to the permanent position.

    The names and rankings of Interim Superintendent candidates are being provided before McPherson & Jacobson  website has opened the application process for the OUSD Superintendent position. As of the posting of this story, the McPherson & Jacobson  website has the OUSD superintendent position listed as "More information coming"  . 

    Currently McPherson & Jacobson  has  only one California school district application information of the three (including  OUSD) it is currently recruiting. 

    The July 27th OUSD Agenda also states an OUSD Special Board Meeting will be held at a later date for the OUSD Board to interview "potential candidates".   Currently an OUSD Special Meeting is scheduled for Thursday August 10th.

    Executive Director of Secondary Education leaves for Brea- O Unified
    Another top OUSD Administrator leaves
    The third top OUSD Administrator within the last 4 months will be leaving OUSD. OUSD Secondary Executive Director Kerrie Torres will be leaving OUSD  to become Brea-Orlinda Unified's new Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services. Ms. Torres has been OUSD's Secondary Director for 4 years.

    OUSD sources state that more top administrators are looking for new homes in the wake of Christensen's departure from the district. The huge administrative upheavals- the Superintendent, the Assistant Superintendent Business Services and now the Executive Director of Secondary Education  , come as OUSD works to manage its rebuilding of its four comprehensive high schools with the Measure S Bond that the Christensen Management Team was able to pass.

    For more information click on 


    Inside the June 27, 2017 Agenda
    The Orange Unified School Board will meet on Thursday June 27, 2017 in a regular session.

    The Agenda also includes:


    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING July 27, 2017
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM
    CLOSED SESSION- 6:00 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm
    For AGENDA-CLICK ON: OUSD AGENDA



    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040
    For budgeting questions call Business Services at 714-628-4015

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