Candidates for LCUSD Equity and Inclusion Post Are Interviewed

The La Cañada Unified School District has moved closer to hiring an equity and inclusion officer, a process that began months after some students were investigated for allegedly using offensive and discriminatory language at basketball games during the season.
LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette recently said interviews took place on Friday, Aug. 30, and the district was engaging in the follow-up process involving human resources matters.
“We had an impressive slate of eight candidates and a full interview panel of 14 consisting of board members, administrators, teachers, [a] school counselor and psychologist, classified staff and parents,” Sinnette said in an email.
During a recent sit-down interview, Sinnette said the district had initially intended for the position to be hired by the start of the school year, but it was important to fill classroom and support positions in the district first.
“We had over 70 applicants,” Sinnette said. “We had a really good response. [Human resources officer] Debra Cradduck had to take some time to peruse all of the applications and come up with the slate of candidates.”
Sinnette anticipated a candidate to be named at the LCUSD Governing Board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
In late March, the LCHS administration ended its investigation regarding behavior at a CIF championship game and determined that “a slur” and repeated profanity were used. Officials have said discipline was issued.
An investigation was also held in December after an adult reported hearing racist jeers by LCHS students at players on the opposing team during a tournament game.
The LCHS Spartan student newspaper published a survey in its March issue about racism, sexism and homophobia in the aftermath of the basketball season. About half of those who responded reported having witnessed or experienced what they considered offensive behavior.
Asked this summer whether the equity and inclusion position was directly related to events earlier in the year, Sinnette said in email that such decision-making “is continuously informed by all events which take place within LCUSD. Our decisions are guided by efforts to build a culture of continuous improvement in the district and we believe that this position will contribute to that.”
The new officer will oversee “the development and implementation of proactive equity, inclusion and diversity initiatives in support of La Cañada Unified School District’s vision and mission to create learning and working environments committed to personal growth, academic excellence and core values of inclusion, wellness and empathy,” according to the district’s job description.
The district previously approved a one-year contract effective August through next June. The deadline to apply for the position, which pays $55,000-$95,000, was at noon on July 30.
The officer also “oversees program development, which addresses needs and identifies training initiatives and experiences for students on cultural competency, gender difference, disability, sexual harassment, inclusion and diversity, and other topics designed to increase awareness and support of equity and inclusion values aimed to support the quality of campus life at each school site.”
Besides LCHS, the district has three elementary schools and a middle school, LCHS 7/8.

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