More personnel changes for Sierra Sands schools

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

More personnel changes for Sierra Sands schoolsWith two shifts in top positions for Sierra Sands Unified School District, two retiring principals and a cascading effect as in-house personnel are promoted to some of those roles, Superintendent Ernie Bell addressed the myriad changes in educational leadership ahead for the community.

“This is unusual for our district,” said Bell. “This seems to come in cycles every so often, with retirements being the leading cause for change.”

Five years ago, the district saw 11 changes in district leadership — four of which involved school principals.

Incidentally, the last time that happened was the year Bell was promoted to his present role. However, the SSUSD Board of Education chose Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. David Ostash to take the job when Bell retires in June.

The district announced this week that Burroughs High School Principal Bryan Auld will take Ostash’s position (see related story, this page), leaving another top opening at BHS.

With the upcoming retirement of Murray Middle School Principal Kirsti Smith and Las Flores Elementary School Principal Sue Marvin, at least three school sites will be in need of new administrators.

Ostash cited the turnover as potentially a positive development for the district. “Yes, we are filling several administrative positions this year, but we see it as an opportunity for new and exciting things to happen.”

He added that promoting and bringing in new leadership impacts not just schools, but the community itself. “Our schools are a hub in our community where staff expertise and civic involvement with our community partners join forces to teach our next generation of community members and leaders.

“Our people are truly our assets,” he said. “That includes our staff, our students and the community that supports us.”

Bell said that he is confident of the district’s prospects for the open positions. “We have excellent candidates within our own district. In addition, early retirement notification planning provides us with an opportunity to advertise for leadership positions early, which attracts highly qualified candidates from a variety of regions.”

The process this year holds special significance for him, said Bell, since this is his last year in a career that spans four decades.

“Planning for leadership succession is vitally important for any organization as you must prepare for the inevitable change as well as the unexpected surprises that can happen.

“Identifying and developing new leaders to replace current leaders has always been a proactive investment by our board and our district leadership teams as we want our district to be prepared. It is a great feeling to know that these critical leadership positions will be filled with outstanding candidates before I leave.”

Story First Published: 2019-02-08