School Trustees to Talk to 3rd Candidate

Simi Valley school trustees have scheduled an interview with a third candidate to serve as interim schools chief.

They will conduct the interview in closed session Tuesday before their regular board meeting. Board members would not reveal the candidate's name or qualifications.

Although officials will not commit to anything, a temporary leader could be chosen that night.

Last week, board members interviewed Stanley Corey, 72, who retired from the Irvine Unified School District in 1987, and Ronald G. Bennett, 55, of the 14,000-student Huntington Beach Union High School District.

Bennett, who had worked in Huntington Beach for two years, was ousted from his job the same day he interviewed for the Simi Valley position.

Without disclosing specific reasons, the Huntington Beach board bought out Bennett's contract because of differences in management philosophies. Last year, trustees had renewed Bennett's contract through June 2001.

"Of course this is going to hurt him," trustee Carla Kurachi said Saturday of Bennett's release. "It's going to make us more gunshy."

Simi Valley Unified School District trustees are trying to replace Dan Flynn, who was forced to resign in February after leading Ventura County's largest school district for only three months.

As the current plan stands, the interim superintendent will work for about six months, buying board members time to search nationwide for a full-time chief.

Also on Tuesday, trustees will vote on which company they want to conduct the search.

Earlier in the year--while trying to find a permanent replacement for former Supt. Tate Parker, whose contract was bought out in June for undisclosed reasons--trustees leaned toward selecting The Visionary Group for $17,000 to conduct the search.

That was unnecessary when the trustees hired Flynn without interviewing anyone else for the job.

Four search firms have bid for the job at costs ranging from $12,000 to $18,000.

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