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Santa Rosa superintendent search is on

  • Santa Rosa City Schools Superintendent Sharon Liddell (JOHN BURGESS/ PD)

Santa Rosa City Schools is pressing forward with finding a new superintendent after accepting Sharon Liddell's resignation late Wednesday.

Liddell announced Friday that she is leaving the district after seven years as superintendent.

“She is a workhorse,” said board President Larry Haenel. “She did a remarkable job in reaching out to the community.”

The seven member board voted to solicit search firm proposals for recruiting for Liddell's replacement and scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday to hear proposals.

“The sooner we get started, the better chance we have of picking a winner like Dr. Liddell,” trustee Tad Wakefield said.

“There is a time crunch,” Haenel said.

Some board members expressed concern that hiring a firm with a pricetag ranging from $18,000 to $30,000 would not sit well with a community facing $8.3 million in cuts to its $130 million budget for the next school year.

Board veteran Frank Pugh urged the board to move slowly, suggesting members should seek community and employee comments on what the district should look for in a successor.

“To me it's a significant process that has to be carefully done to respect the community's needs and desires,” he said.

Board members said district discussion of a potential tax measure in November should not be affected by Liddell's departure.

“I think we can go ahead and explore that and work on replacing Sharon at the same time,” trustee Donna Jeye said before Wednesday night's regular board meeting. “I don't see one hindering the other.”

Liddell, who turns 65 next month, has said she is interested in pursuing a position with a district with more than Santa Rosa's 15,500 students or potentially teaching at a university. Her current salary is $179,500 from which she pays her own medical benefits.

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