Deputy likely new supt.

Deputy Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan is expected to be confirmed to the top district post today, about a month after Supt. Michael Escalante announced plans to retire.

Board of Education members are scheduled to confirm the appointment at a meeting today, and will likely ratify a contract late in March, board President Mary Boger said. Sheehan’s promotion would be effective July 1.

Board members sought someone already highly qualified who could come in and preserve student achievement without a steep learning curve, Boger said.

“In this last year, the district has been faced with highly unusual circumstances — the Station fire, H1N1, Michael Jackson’s funeral, and now with the constant threat of flooding, Sheehan certainly displayed administrative skills to deal with each of these situations,” she said. “Dick stepped in and did well.”

Sheehan began the year as an assistant superintendent, and was named deputy superintendent a few months ago.

“I’m humbled by the process so far and appreciative of the confidence the board has put in me and thankful for the mentorship I’ve received from Mike Escalante,” Sheehan said. “I’m still proceeding through this very cautiously until it’s a done deal.”

Sheehan has been the only candidate under consideration since interviews started Feb. 4. Board members said they planned an internal search, but would look at external candidates if the deputy and assistant superintendents were under-qualified.

“When you have someone who is as well-qualified and well-acquainted with the district as Sheehan, I think the board has done its due diligence,” Boger said.

Sheehan is entering his third year in Glendale Unified. He was brought on to manage secondary schools, and took on kindergarten-through-12th grade responsibilities in his second year.

A former principal, Sheehan taught in San Marino, Charter Oak and Covina Valley school districts. He won a CIF championship in 1995 as the head football coach at Covina High School.

He earned his doctorate from USC in 2002. While principal at Northview High School, the school was awarded distinguished honors for the first time in its history, and a six-year accreditation without a revisit, a big accomplishment in education circles, Sheehan said.

Boger said successful superintendents must find a way to forge consensus among the parent, business and disparate groups who support and rely on Glendale schools.

“Our district is so complex, in the scope of its diversity, in the scope of its socioeconomics, in the fact that we have both a parent and business community actively involved, and we must always have a superintendent who can bring all of these interests to a point of support in the district,” she said.

Board members were informed of Escalante’s retirement before winter vacation and have held a series of closed sessions to plot the way forward.

Escalante was hired on a four-year contract in 2004 from a pool of two other candidates.


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