Survey suggests new Kyrene chief will have big shoes to fill

johnny coronel mugshotBy Jonathan Coronel

After a successful 10-year tenure as the Kyrene School District’s superintendent, Dr. David Schauer will be retiring in the summer of 2016. With his departure now imminent, the five-member Kyrene Governing Board has begun the search for a new superintendent in earnest with the help the recruitment and development firm McPherson and Jacobson LLC.

On Dec. 1 the board convened a public meeting with Dr. Mary Kamerzell from McPherson and Jacobson. Kamerzell presented the information she had gathered from community outreach with Kyrene students and parents, as well as other selected target audiences.

On the whole, the respondents had glowing things to say about the district, noting the quality of the education as well as the safe environments all parents want for their children.

Teachers are generally seen as well qualified and parents and students alike are happy with the amount of extracurricular activities and sense of community in the district.

The number of respondents to the informal surveys ranged from 150 to 200. Kamerzell noted that a number this small usually means most people are satisfied with a district; large turnouts usually only occur when people have a lot to complain about.

Notably parents and students of the Kyrene district feel their new superintendent will have big shoes to fill.

Their informal list of desirable qualities was lengthy, ranging from intangibles like leadership and political savvy to good business and technical skills.

Although Kyrene stakeholders certainly were not afraid to state what they would like to see in their new superintendent, the Governing Board was purposely circumspect and cautious during their public deliberations.

Governing Board President Ross Robb hesitated to list specific desires in a candidate lest they simply tell the board what they want to hear during the interview process.

However, the board did discuss the vetting process at length, focusing on how much time they would spend reviewing applications.

Robb and fellow board member Bernadette Coggins even expressed their wishes that all semifinalist candidates send in a video application to the Governing Board.

“We are really looking forward to coming in here, enjoying some popcorn and reviewing these applicants’ videos,” said Coggins when the subject turned to how useful videos could be in vetting candidates.

With the application deadline for the new superintendent fast approaching in mid-February, Kyrene students, parents and administrators anxiously await the selection of a new district leader.

Kyrene stakeholders and board members may have high standards for a superintendent, but Kamerzell was quick to remind them they were not the only ones with high standards.

“Remember, when someone applies to this position, they’re interviewing you as well.”

One can’t help but think that with its reputation, the Kyrene district should ace that interview.

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