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Independent Voice

National Search for Dixon Superintendent

Jan 16, 2024 02:06PM ● By Debra Dingman, photo by Debra Dingman

DUSD will conclude its search for a new superintendent at the end of the month.


DIXON, CA (MPG) - At the end of this month, the application for the Dixon Unified School District superintendent position will close, and the final stages of replacing retiring Superintendent Brian Dolan will start with hopes of selecting a new executive by the end of March. Dolan announced in September that he would retire after 26 years in the district at the end of the 2023-2024 school year.

“The district already works with Education Support Services Group, and we contracted out an extension of our legal services, and it was a nice clean shift. They outlined the whole process,” explained David Bowen, DUSD Board Trustee Board president. The cost was not to exceed $18,500. “I think it will be closer to $15,000, but we won’t know until the process closes,” he added.

In late October, there was a special public meeting for the board to give their input, then ESS collected it all together and will be presenting in January the candidate profile list of preferred or required [assets.]

The search went national at the request of the school board in October, then ESS started interviewing “stakeholders” in late November and December.

“They did meetings with more than 20 people,” reported Bowen. “There were so many different subsets including union and non-union people, teachers, site administrators, and different parent groups.”

Results of the online survey are tallied and disaggregated and displayed in the leadership profile found online at dixonusd.org/superintendent-search/.

The candidate profile that they created from the input will be presented to the public in January.

“What I appreciated and respected most was that we made this decision earlier than average,” Bowen said. “Both VV and FF made decisions to move on from their superintendents late in the year, so we got a two-month head start. We’re lucky we got to [qualified candidates] first.”

One wondered why the national search when Nick Girimonte, assistant superintendent of education services for the district who was raised in Dixon, graduated from Dixon High School, graduated from the University of Notre Dame, and earned a master’s in education from UC Davis. He taught English five years at Dixon High before becoming the assistant principal for a couple years and ultimately a popular and respected principal there for five more. He has family with DNA in education.  His mother, Susan, retired from the job Nick has now in a couple years before Nick stepped into it 2017.

Nick’s wife, Phoebe, worked in the Dixon Unified School District for 14 years in roles including teacher, site administrator, and district personnel coordinator before joining the Winters JUSD where she is now assistant superintendent of educational services.

“Nick was personally invited to apply, and he satisfied a lot of the criteria,” said Bowen. “He’s a fluent Spanish speaker and is the coordinator for the district for the AVID program which is the district’s vision statement for future years.”

As of press time, Nick has not applied and offered no comment. But he also stated that if he does, he will, of course, “honor the Board process.”

“The students are always the priority to me,” he said.

The board is interested in conducting a national search, and according to Board Trustee Jewel Fink, they had to do that because they could not “promote” as has been done in the past.

“The board wanted an equitable process that was open to any and all candidates,” said Bowen. “He may have been able to be promoted, but we never considered it because we didn’t want any sense of nepotism or favoritism —because that’s what the public elected us to do.

 

“We want what is best for Dixon’s students, parents, and staff,” Bowen said. “In context, California wages are pretty high. We are right on the edge of the Bay Area, but we have a lot of rural traditions. The board is wanting to make sure we’ve exhausted the search to finding someone who has (all of the profile.) We could get a very highly-skilled person from another county.”

 

“We will definitely have the replacement chosen by the end of the year (roughly speaking the end of March). The replacement will definitely not begin before Dolan’s contract ends on July 1,” Bowen added.

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