Skip to main content

Independent Voice

New Superintendent Hire to be Announced Soon

Mar 20, 2024 09:16AM ● By Angela Underwood

DIXON, CA (MPG) - Dixon Unified School District (DUSD) leadership is soon changing guards with a new superintendent hire.

Shawntel McCammon, Dixon Unified School District spokesperson, told the Independent Voice after the March 14 school board meeting that officials “are working on finalizing contract negotiations and hope to have an announcement within/at the next few board meetings.”

Superintendent Brian Dolan is stepping down since taking up the post in 2012 and serving decades with the district after starting as a Vacaville High School history teacher in 1988. The process to find the future leader began in October 2023, when school board members approved a contract with Education Support Services to hold a national superintendent search.

With the announcement of Superintendent Dolan’s retirement at the beginning of the school year, school board President Julian Cuevas said, the transition of the incoming superintendent has been critical.

“The board needs to ensure that our new superintendent has what they need to be successful. That includes having a strong and supportive team in place,” Cuevas said.

School board Vice-President David Bowen said when any leadership role is being filled, board members work closely together to offer a diverse collaboration for the final decision.

“Every board member was elected by the public and we each represent a different perspective on public education and a subset of the electorate,” Bowen said. “It is important that both the community's voice, and by proxy, each board member's voice, be represented when hiring our only direct employee, the superintendent.”

The new hire process is intense, involving a specific candidate profile, which was collaboratively compiled, listing the characteristics of the new Dixon superintendent. Qualities include being an effective, proactive and respectful communicator, brings vision and fresh ideas and energy, is fiscally minded, remains visible, builds trusting relationships and is thick skinned.  

The engagement phase for finding noted ideal traits included dozens of employee meetings and community forums to ensure that the public’s voice was heard, according to Bowen. Dixon Unified School District received 25 applications from across the country, holding two rounds of interviews with many highly-qualified candidates, Bowen said.

From the 25 applications, Cuevas said, the district “narrowed our interview schedule to seven candidates and ultimately came to a unanimous decision on who we believed best aligned with the leadership profile and who would best lead the next era of our school district.”

Dixon Vice-Mayor Kevin Johnson, the government liaison for the school district, said it is critical that the city and Dixon Unified School District have a solid working relationship and open communication to ensure the best environment and opportunities for city children.

“We are dedicated to working with DUSD to make sure we have a productive relationship during their leadership transition,” Johnson said.  

Bowen said the board will assist the prospective new leader in their role, offering informative community perspectives. 

“We also bring a wealth of experience in the work force and perspectives to consider,” Bowen said. “The board's primary role is to envision what Dixon wants and needs for our community's school and for the new superintendent to fulfill that vision.”

Cuevas said the members are an important part of fulfilling that vision.

“The superintendent is the board’s one employee that we directly manage,” Cuevas said. “Who we choose next will have a multi-generational impact on our families and our community.”

The board president said getting it right and ensuring the transition is thoughtful and intentional will be the difference on the success of the incoming administration.

“First and foremost, reliable and consistent communication is critical,” Cuevas said. “It is not only one of the top priories listed on the leadership profile, it is also certainly a top priority for the board.”

As the “face of our schools,” Bowen said, it is important that the new superintendent be attuned to what the community wants,” adding “any person doing any job has things that are strengths and areas for growth.” Ideally, the new superintendent's areas of strength align with what both the community and board see as important attributes to lead the public schools in the right direction, Bowen added. 

The new superintendent will also work with Vice-Mayor Johnson, who said “the city is committed to meeting with Dixon Unified School District quarterly, additional meetings are added as necessary for special projects.”

In the end, Cuevas said, “parents and families play an integral part in our public education system and intentionally including them in the process is a must.”

“It has been a privilege to see our board lean in and lead differently,” Cuevas said. “Seeing our community reciprocate this shift is both energizing and motivating and we are just getting started.”

The Independent Voice reached out to Superintendent Dolan for comment, but he did not respond to a request for comment.