Following a series of all-day candidate interviews on May 8 and 9, the Del Norte County Unified School District Board of Trustees has selected Jeff Harris as the finalist to replace retiring Superintendent Don Olson. Mr. Harris is currently the Superintendent/Principal of the North Cow Creek Elementary School District. Prior to that, Mr. Harris served as a principal in the Corning and Delano School Districts. He had prior experience as an assistant principal in the Visalia Unified School District and a teacher in Delano. Mr. Harris has a M.A. in English from Cal State Northridge and completed his credential work at Cal State University at Fresno. His teaching and administrative experience working in rural areas with diverse students has prepared him well for his work in Del Norte County.
Mr. Harris was selected as the finalist from an outstanding field of candidates. The search process included recruiting and reference checking by Leadership Associates; two rounds of interviews conducted by the Board; extensive deliberations regarding the three finalists, and a site visit by two Board members with staff, parents, and other members of the Cow Creek community on Tuesday, May 19. The next step in the process will involve coming to agreement on a contract. The Board currently plans to take action to approve a contract of employment with Mr. Harris at its June 4, 2015 regularly scheduled Board meeting. Jim Brown and Dennis Smith of Leadership Associates complimented the Board on their efforts to reach out to the community, study the applications of each candidate carefully, listen carefully to each other’s views, and come to consensus on the finalist.
The Del Norte County Unified Board selected Mr. Harris because they see him as an educational leader who has a passion for helping all students achieve their full potential. He has been a steady advocate for the importance of teaching and learning and keeping everyone focused on student success. The Board found Mr. Harris to be the best overall candidate in all areas of school district leadership, including curriculum and instruction, budget development, fiscal oversight, facilities improvement, and human resources. He is well known and respected as a student-centered leader who is highly visible, approachable, and accessible. They look forward to his joining the Del Norte County Unified family as the new Superintendent.
As part of his application, Mr. Harris noted that his primary purposes as a teacher, principal and superintendent have been:
1. To ensure that each student has met or exceeded learning targets, participated as individuals in extra or co-curricular activities that help them grow as individuals and received the support necessary, both in and out of school, to reach their maximum potential.
2. To empower staff to utilize and expand their training, experience, passions and expertise to realize fully their own professional goals and to engage all students in learning.
3. To inform and involve parents and the community so that they understand the school community, share in its success, support it in its areas of need, and work with students, staff, and Board to support our students.
4. To create a fiscally sound and sustainable program.
He added that he and his family were elated when they heard of the opportunity in Del Norte County. As his own children move into high school and look forward to college, he and his family want to be in a community with a good educational system for an extended period of time.
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