CONCORD -- The Mt. Diablo school board will announce its choice for interim Superintendent on Monday, after officially severing ties with the superintendent and general counsel.

Last Wednesday the board unanimously selected John Bernard to temporarily fill in for ousted Superintendent Steven Lawrence while the board searches for a permanent replacement. Bernard is a senior adviser for district improvement and leadership at Total School Solutions in Fairfield, which works with districts to enhance performance, productivity and viability, according to the firm's website.

Bernard's online profile states that he helps districts "develop systems that promote excellence and nurture collaboration." It also states that Bernard " ... works with the school boards, school communities, superintendents and their cabinets in ensuring that efforts are coordinated for the benefit of the children they serve."

Most recently, Bernard was a state administrator for the South Monterey County Union High School District. Previously, he worked as a superintendent in the Newark, Novato and Bakersfield districts. Between 1989 and 1995, he was a Mt. Diablo district administrator.

The board is scheduled to approve a contract with Bernard through Sept. 30. Details, including compensation, had not yet been released early Friday afternoon.


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In addition, the board expects to approve separation agreements with Lawrence and General Counsel Greg Rolen, which will provide them with salary and benefits through Dec. 31. Lawrence is required to seek comparable employment, according to the agreement. If he finds a new job, the district could pay him less, the contract states. Rolen's contract does not contain such a clause.

Rolen's agreement includes a letter of recommendation from the board praising his eight years of service in the district, along with his skills as a lawyer. There is no letter of recommendation attached to Lawrence's contract.

Both agreements include nondisparagement clauses, which means that neither party will talk negatively about the other, along with prepared statements related to the reasons for the separations.

Each agreement says the board and employee engaged in good-faith discussions "concerning the direction of the district, and as a result of those discussions have determined that the interest of the parties will best be served by ending their employment relationship on a without-cause basis."

Also on Monday, the board expects to select a superintendent search firm. Companies under consideration are Leadership Associates, Ray and Associates and The Cosca Group. Leadership Associates found Lawrence for the Mt. Diablo district and conducted the San Ramon Valley district's recent superintendent search. Ray and Associates conducted superintendent searches in the Oakland and Berkeley districts, and The Cosca Group helped the Livermore Valley and Hayward districts find new leaders.

The board on Monday also expects to consider two lease-leaseback construction contracts for school improvements. Some members of the district's Bond Oversight Committee have recently questioned the district's practice of entering into these types of agreements because they do not require competitive bidding.

IF YOU GO:
The Mt. Diablo school board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord. More information is available by calling 925-682-8000 ext. x4016 or by visiting http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us. Click on May 20.