California Educator

November 2015

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S U P E R I N T E N D E N T S h u ff l e District chiefs' dizzying turnover rate affects students, educators By SHERRY POSNICK-GOODWIN Photography by SCOTT BUSCHMAN " S O M E T I M E S I F E E L like I 'm on a merr y-go-round," says Oxnard Educators Association (OEA) President Robin Lefko- vits. Her district has gone through superintendents at such a rapid rate it makes her head spin. e Oxnard School District has had seven superintendents since 2008, including three interim superintendents and one who left after just five months. e most time that Lefkovits has spent working with any superintendent is two years, and she has been president since 2008. " When we have a merry-go-round of superintendents, it blurs the direction we are going in, which is not good for stu- dents," she says. "Each superintendent had a big impact on us." The high turnover in Oxnard reflects a state trend: Two- thirds of superintendents in the state's 30 largest districts have been in their posts for three years or less, according to EdSource. Nearly a dozen have been in their posts for less than a year. Only three superintendents in large districts — Long Beach, Fresno and Chino Valley — have been on the job for more than five years, reports EdSource. A short leadership reign typically occurs in districts fac- ing budget shortfalls or under intense pressure to raise test scores. e job can be tremendously stressful and vulnerable to potshots from all sides. Superintendents answer to school board members and the community at large, while working with administrators, teachers, classified staff and bargaining units. Meeting all stakeholders' expectations can prove difficult if not impossible. Abr upt d e p a r tu re s a n d di smi ss al s l e av e di str i c t s Spinning out of control: Robin Lefkovits, Oxnard Educators Association president, has seen seven superintendents come and go since 2008. 33 November 2015 F E A T U R E

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