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Kyrene schools chief resigns
By Don Kirkland

December 17, 2005

Dr. Maria Menconi, the likable superintendent whose effectiveness has been widely acclaimed since she took office in 2002, has announced plans to leave the Kyrene School District at the end of June, a year before her contract expires.

A surprised Governing Board accepted the resignation, which Menconi said is necessary because her husband ďmost likelyĒ will be taking a job outside the area.

She had made the announcement earlier the same day at a meeting of the districtís leadership team.

Governing Board members are due to meet sometime after Dec. 19 to determine how they will recruit candidates for the current $125,000-a-year job.

The board offered to increase Menconiís salary at its last budget session, which she declined.

Although Menconi brought acknowledged new direction to the job when she was hired, the boardís decision earlier this year to alter the way in which elective classes are offered in the districtís middle schools resulted in a public outcry.

This led to an announced recall election against Board President Rae Waters, which is scheduled for March.

During her tenure, Menconi has been recognized for guiding the district to achievement-test scores that are above state and national averages. She also is credited with developing resources to help improve class size and leading the effort to develop alternative ways to improve employee salaries and benefits.

Observers acknowledge the success of a marketing program implemented during Menconiís tenure that helped offset a decline in enrollment. She also has been given credit for her role in the passage of four successful override and bond elections.

A recent communications audit gave the district high marks for its efforts to engender community support.



















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