The Kyrene School District Governing Board announced, with stability and consistency in mind, it has determined that an internal search is the best option to replace Superintendent Jan Vesely, who announced early this month that she will retire Dec. 31.
Kyrene Talent Management posted the position Oct. 12 after the board reviewed criteria used in the previous search as a basis for creating the position description. Should a qualified candidate not emerge from the internal process, the board will consider other options, which may include conducting an external search.
The district, which has 26 schools that serve K-8 in South Tempe, West Chandler and Ahwatukee, wants a new leader who is familiar with the Kyrene vision, mission, culture and community by the end of November.
Among the board’s highest considerations is providing stability for the community, foremost being response to challenges presented by COVID-19.
The pandemic has had significant implications for the district’s budget and enrollment. Staff, students and parents have weathered rapid changes in teaching and learning as a result, and the board is concerned about introducing new leadership at this critical juncture that could result in additional change.
Another high consideration, the board said, is consistency. The ideal candidate has the skills, characteristics and knowledge that would adapt well to the unique culture of Kyrene and its community. Progress on Strategic Plan 2022 and momentum of equity initiatives should be continued by the next superintendent, according to the board.
Community engagement and transparency also are critical components of the process.
The Governing Board has created a dedicated Superintendent Search web page as well as an invitation to staff and community to participate by Oct. 23 in a Superintendent Survey, which is now open.
Staff input will be further solicited through a series of virtual forums.
The Governing Board said that it will work with Site Lead Principals, the Kyrene Education Association, the Kyrene Education Support Professionals Association and district leadership to seek and share input from employees.
The feedback will help shape the vetting of applicants and determination of interview criteria to be used in selection of finalists.
With Vesely leaving in 10 weeks, the board agrees that it is important to identify a candidate in sufficient time to allow a seamless transition. Accordingly, it released a condensed timeline with the goal of identifying a new superintendent by the end of November:
- 26: Application deadline.
- 27–30: Board review of applications and finalists selected.
- 4–6: Candidate Interviews.
- 10: Board vote to enter contract negotiations.
- 24: Board vote to approve contract for new superintendent.
This timeline is subject to change. The Superintendent Search webpage will have regular updates on the process.