Sonora Union High School District board will meet in the Sonora High Library at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The Sonora High School Board of Trustees will consider hiring its new superintendent at a meeting Tuesday night.

The board will hold a closed session toward the end of the 6 p.m. meeting, and the item about hiring a superintendent is the last one on the agenda.

The names of the finalists have not been released.

Board chair Jeanie Smith said Monday the board has made a selection and sent that person a contract.

The board hasn’t come to terms on the contract details so she couldn’t say whether the board would have an announcement of its choice at the meeting on Tuesday.

"I don't want to announce without a signed contract,” she said, but she hoped the announcement would be made Tuesday.

Smith also said it was "hard to say" whether the new superintendent will start by Aug. 1.

"Probably unrealistic but that was the original plan," she said.

Superintendent Pat Chabot, who was hired in 2015 for the job after a long career at Sonora High, announced his retirement on May 1. McPherson & Jacobson, an Omaha, Nebraska, firm has been handling the recruitment process.

From 26 applicants, five finalists were selected, two of whom were interviewed by panels of community members and school officials Monday. The other three were interviewed on Tuesday.

The panels included seven staff members, seven community members, and one student.

The community panel included Will Sarkisian and Debbie Hopper as two Sonora High School certificated employees, Ed Cassinetto as an alternative education certificated employee, Gilbert Hammerbeck as a certificated administrator (he is also identified as an “alternate”), Dana Vaccarezza, chief business official, as a classified or confidential employee manager, and Danny Hinkel and Mark Alberto as classified employes. Additionally, Vonnie Lefman, ag representative, Kim Baker, band representative, Rick Francis, athletic representative, and Chet White, Gretchen Birtwhistle, Nate Howard and Robert Sinclair as at-large representatives, are also included.

Britain Traub was the student representative.

The district faced withering criticism from the few parents and students who attended meetings held by the recruiting firm, which was trying to ascertain the qualities needed for a new superintendent. The overarching concern was a lack of transparency from the board and the administration and a lack of vision about where the school was headed.

Frequently over the past year or more, board meetings have been battlegrounds over a number of issues, including financial difficulties, selling the school’s agricultural ranch and the historic Sonora Dome.

The Sonora High board also will consider whether to end the reduction in work days for the superintendent imposed when the district was cutting expenses during the last school year.

A statement on the agenda says, “The current superintendent is retiring in August 2018, and the board finds it is in the district’s best interest to restore the reduction of work days to attract a highly qualified superintendent candidate.”

The board, which normally meets in a conference room on campus, will meet in the school library.

In June, Summerville Union High School District hired Michael Merrill, principal at Calaveras High School, as superintendent to replace the retiring superintendent,Robert Griffith.

At Big Oak Flat Groveland School District, Tenaya Elementary Principal Wynette Hilton is the new superintendent, replacing Dave Urquhart, who retired.



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