DUSD Interim Superintendent Marken offers to stay on two more years

Marken's appointment would buy district more time to find new long-term leader, school board says

The Dublin school board unanimously accepted an offer on Tuesday for Interim Superintendent Dave Marken to remain in his current position for two more years -- contingent on successful contract negotiations between the two sides -- while “an extended, inclusive search for the district’s next long-term superintendent” is conducted, district officials announced this week.

Immediately following a closed-session discussion about Marken’s offer, Board of Trustees President Amy Miller made the announcement at the start of a Dublin Unified School District facilities workshop that evening.

“This would provide the district with stability while allowing the district to engage in an extended, inclusive search for the district’s next long-term superintendent,” Miller said, adding that Marken’s hiring will be “conditional on negotiation of a mutually agreeable contract and discussion and public input.”

“This option would allow us to resume the search process in 2020 with the goal of identifying and securing our next long-term leader by approximately the spring of 2021,” she said. “This would also give us support as we move into the next school year, provides a healthy window of opportunity for a comprehensive search, and ensures that a full board-five elected and seated trustees–will hire the next leader.”

A veteran Dublin school administrator and former Newark superintendent, Marken came out of retirement in April to help stabilize district leadership just days after former superintendent Leslie Boozer’s sudden departure. At the time the board also barely held a quorum, heightening uncertainty in district administration.

Marken, who has been maintaining a “nomadic” lifestyle since then between Bay Area hotels during the week and weekends at home in Lodi, recently told the Weekly that he “didn't have any immediate desire to go back into this world" but wanted to help in the community where he had "served the big, big part of my career."

Trustee Dan Cherrier made the motion to appoint Marken during this week's workshop, which was seconded by Trustee Megan Rouse. The trustees plans to decide at their regular meeting next Tuesday (June 25), according to DUSD spokesperson Chip Dehnert, “conditional on the negotiation of contract terms and review of public input that will take place during that meeting.”

Staff were also directed to “inform the school community and the groups with whom we have met regarding the superintendent search about this development,” according to Miller, and also to get “as much feedback as possible before any action is taken on this important decision” at next week’s meeting.

Appointing Marken would move the district closer toward having a cohesive and fully formed leadership base; currently three out of the five board seats are officially filled. Gabrielle Blackman was elected to the Area 4 Trustee seat in a June 4 special election. Blackman’s election results have not been certified yet, which the Alameda County Registrar of Voters has 30 days from the election date to do, but Dehnert said that “we would love to have her seated and available to vote on any matter as soon as possible.”

The Area 3 board seat is still open after former trustee Dan Cunningham resigned for personal reasons in March. That spot will be filled in a special election scheduled for Nov. 5.

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