The San Antonio Independent School District board of trustees selected a search firm Monday night to help find the district’s new leader, almost three months after former superintendent Pedro Martinez resigned.

The board unanimously voted to hire JG Consulting, an Austin-based education executive search firm. Trustees interviewed five search firms last week before voting Monday; 23 firms had responded to the district’s request for proposals.

JG Consulting and the board are negotiating a contract and timeline for the search that should be finalized in the coming days, district spokeswoman Laura Short said.

School board President Christina Martinez said Tuesday trustees were impressed with the firm’s track record of conducting searches in Texas and nationwide.

“Their track record is exemplary,” she said. “Nineteen of the 23 superintendents recruited by JG Consulting remain in their respective roles today. Two superintendents have recently accepted promotions with larger school systems, and the other two have pursued other endeavors outside of public education after successful tenures with the school districts that they served.”

Additionally, Martinez said, JG Consulting was the only firm the board interviewed that provides a two-year guarantee, which means that if the person selected to be the next superintendent leaves within two years the firm will conduct another search without charging the district.

Board members also valued the familiarity JG Consulting has with the San Antonio and South Texas communities. Trustee Patti Radle said at Monday’s meeting that the firm is “culturally closer to who we are” and has staff who speak Spanish.

Martinez agreed: “The level of stakeholder engagement we plan to have will be better served by a firm that is close by.”

Interim superintendent Robert Jaklich worked for JG Consulting before accepting the position at SAISD. His last project with the firm was in the spring, when it was conducting a search in New Braunfels. Jaklich did not participate in the search firm interviews with the SAISD board.

Martinez said at the meeting that she wanted to make sure the board was transparent about his previous employment with the firm “so that it doesn’t come out in a whisper somewhere.”

The SAISD board hired Jaklich on Sept. 21 to temporarily replace Pedro Martinez, who was selected to lead Chicago Public Schools.

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Brooke Crum

Brooke Crum covered education for the San Antonio Report.