Oakdale to lean on one of its own for superintendent search

The Oakdale Unified board, faced with finding a new superintendent by school year's end, voted Monday night to get help with the task from someone very familiar with the job. Wendell Chun will conduct a national search to replace Superintendent Fred Rich, who is retiring June 30. Rich took the reins when Chun left the post three years ago and joined the search firm of Dave Long and Associates. Chun still lives in Oakdale and is active in the community. That hometown advantage paid off for the school district, with a hefty savings for Chun's services. Chun said search fees are based on district size, and his fee would normally be $20,000 to $22,000 for the job. But he offered to do the job for $6,000, because it's Oakdale, he said. "That's a 70 percent discount," Chun said. The board first voted 4-1 to do a national search, despite audience calls to promote internally and reduce administrative payroll. Trustee Diane Gilbert was the dissenting vote. The second vote was 3-2 to take Chun up on his offer. Board president Mike Tozzi joined trustees William Dyer and Rick W. Jones voting yes. Michael House and Gilbert voted no. Chun said his first task will be to get community input of what they want to see in a superintendent, using personal interviews, a Web site survey and paper surveys available at school sites.