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Superintendent's Message

In RBUSD, Administrators Do More!

     Landing an administrator job in the finest school district in the South Bay is not easy. Word is out that, before submitting an application seeking an administrator job in Redondo Beach Unified School District (RBUSD), one must be willing to go beyond the listed job description. In most school districts, part of the administrator job description reads: “… and other duties as assigned.” Some districts will tout that this phrase is a nice way of saying, “You will do whatever we tell you” (as long as it’s legal and ethical, of course). Sure, in nearly all of our administrator job descriptions “other duties as assigned” is included.

     Getting back to the unwritten word in RBUSD, the Board of Education and I ask even more from our administrators. In fact, as an easy example, the first component in their formal evaluation rates their resilience (e.g., constructive reaction to disappointment and failure and willingness to admit error and learn from it). Think about it—from the word go, we are asking our leaders to take risks that benefit (y)our children. We are not asking or evaluating them on how they effectively and quietly manage the status quo. We are asking for more—much more.

     When administrators are hired, the paper screening, interviews, and final background check are thorough and not necessarily traditional. To say that we spend a significant amount of time hiring each administrator is an understatement. The final piece of the hiring process is a 30–90 minute interview with me, one-on-one. Of course, I follow the human resources playbook as to what I ask and don’t ask, but what I push is truly the secret sauce of RBUSD. Are you willing to advocate for a student-centered and educationally progressive agenda for the betterment of our learning community? Are you willing to speak up, lead, and model positive change for the betterment of our learning community? Are you willing to embrace calculated risks for the betterment of our learning community? Are you willing to look beyond your site’s sidewalk and engage the residents, when appropriate, for the betterment of our learning community? Are you willing to work collaboratively and positively with all of our employees for the betterment of our learning community? On a related note, when you have an employee who needs closer supervision and coaching, are you willing to have a direct, candid, and positive conversation with him or her for the betterment of our learning community? I can go on, but you get the picture. In fact—and I have been doing this a long time now—some candidates decline to accept the position after this meeting, and sometimes I clearly see the candidate is “not a match.” Good. Like a marriage, better to know everything before you commit.

     In RBUSD, we ask a lot from our administrators. They are managers and leaders—this is a requirement. They understand the differences between managing and leading, and they make magic happen, wherever they are located. The Board of Education and I thank them for the zealous efforts, their care for our students, and their care for the adults with whom they interact on a daily basis. As a favor, the next time you see one of our great administrators, please say thank you!


Dr. Steven E. Keller

Superintendent of Schools 

Administrative Contact

Ricardo Gallegos


(310) 379-5449 Ext.# 1272