The following is ACLU-SDIC Policy Associate Savana Doudar’s prepared testimony for the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education meeting on Feb. 2, 2021.
Good Evening Board Members,
My name is Savana Doudar. I am a policy associate for the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.
We join with community members and organizations, including the Association of African American Educators, to urge you to hire an independent recruitment firm to fill the superintendent position and we urge you to expand the role of the community hiring committee in the hiring process.
To ensure the hiring process is transparent, equitable and community-centered, we urge you to hire a recruitment firm with a history of recruiting and hiring candidates from diverse backgrounds and with experience gathering input from diverse communities.
This firm should develop a cohesive public outreach, recruitment, interview and selection process while working in consultation with the community hiring committee and the Board of Education.
Additionally, we call on you to center the voices and needs of the communities you serve by including the community hiring committee in all aspects of the hiring process.
The committee should have representation from all five areas within the district, prioritizing students with high needs, English Language Learners and community stakeholders from Black and Brown communities.
Past decisions by this board, including the selection of Cindy Marten as superintendent, have occurred behind closed doors. This lack of transparency and the failure to adequately address the achievement gap have eroded trust with the community.
A community-centered approach and an inclusive hiring process will help rebuild trust within the communities you serve and ensure that the next superintendent is a strong leader who is prepared to put the needs of our most impacted students first.
Thank you for your time and consideration.