District chooses Crystal Leach for superintendent position

The district moves forward after the unexpected exit of superintendent Darnise Williams last December

Crystal Leach has been selected as the new superintendent.

Sequoia Union Website

Crystal Leach has been selected as the new superintendent.

Patrick Van Hoven, Politics Editor

After the unexpected exodus of previous superintendent Darnise Williams, the Sequoia Union High School District board has chosen Crystal Leach as the new superintendent 

Former superintendent Darnise Williams resigned unexpectedly on December 13. Two months later, after serving as Interim Superintendent, Crystal Leach has been approved to be superintendent. She was chosen after a series of meetings with stakeholders and leadership consultants, and officially became superintendent once the Board of Trustees approved an employment agreement on Wednesday. The board previously released a report about what they were looking for in candidates. 

“The stakeholders want an individual who values two-way communication and has a collaborative leadership style, which includes Board, staff, parents, institutes of higher education, the City, community based organizations and other stakeholders in the decision-making process when appropriate,” the report said. 

I am hoping to see a superintendent who is very aware of the equity work that we were doing and to continue and make that work better.

— Alton Lee

The superintendent will be responsible for directing the initiatives of the district, and for weighing the interests of many stakeholders and schools. 

“The new leader must be strategic in seeking to build relationships and partnerships throughout the District,” the report said. “Community groups want their voices to be heard and their opinions to be reflected in the direction of the District initiatives and programs.”

The report aggregated input on the superintendent search from over 700 community members. 

“Respondents are proud of being a diverse, highly educated, and well-resourced community,” the report said. “There is energy about the intellectual capital that exists in the district and a desire to fully tap into the possibilities this resource could mean to the District.” 

Alton Lee is a Woodside science teacher and a site representative for the Sequoia District Teachers Association and is tasked with delivering feedback from Woodside teachers to the district. While the union was able to provide input on what they were looking for from the new superintendent, the hiring process was mostly performed by the district and an outside leadership consulting agency, Leadership Associates.  

“I am hoping to see a superintendent who is very aware of the equity work that we were doing and to continue and make that work better,” Lee said. “I am looking for a superintendent who understands how a high school district works, and [who is] able to operate with that with deep understanding.” 

The superintendent search began in earnest about two months ago

“Is this process really quick?” Lee asked. “I believe it is. At the same time, what I see here is that the person that they selected has been with our district—she’s been doing the work. In fact, this is her second time as interim superintendent. So, it feels like for me the process may have been a little too fast.”