Governing Board reaffirms previous position regarding superintendent search

The Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board room is at Coronado High School, 7501 E. Virginia Ave., Scottsdale. (file photo)

With an opportunity for new board members to weigh in, the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board had a brief discussion regarding its superintendent search, ultimately deciding to take no action.

The Governing Board met for a study session Thursday, Feb. 7 at the Mohave District Annex, 8500 E. Jackrabbit Road, to reaffirm its support for what the previous board had decided.

On Dec. 20, a previous iteration of the Governing Board said the superintendent search did not meet its expectations and wanted to offer a contract extension to Acting Superintendent Dr. John Kriekard, suspending the search.

This decision also allowed the incoming Governing Board to weigh in on the next steps.

Both new board members — Jann-Michael Greenburg and Board President Patty Beckman — agreed with the assessment of the previous board.

The district had used McPherson & Jacobson employment agency to search for candidates for the position. To accomplish this, the district awarded a contract of $36,900 to complete the search with $24,900 being for contracted services and $12,000 being for expenses.

Michelle Marshall

So far, SUSD’s legal counsel Michelle Marshall said the agency has spent half of the $24,900. She didn’t have any updated numbers on expenses but did say there were some because she knows the firm had traveled.

Ms. Marshall presented several options for the board including taking no action and continue working with McPherson & Jacobson at a later time; or cancel the contract, paying the outstanding expenses.

“You don’t have to take any action whatsoever with respect to the search or McPherson and Jacobson today,” Ms. Marshall said. “It really was, cart before horse, we didn’t want to bring Dr. Kriekard’s possible contract before you before we had this current board give an indication.”

The Governing Board did have an option as there was an action item on the agenda regarding the McPherson & Jacobson contract.

Patty Beckman

“I think, this is my opinion, it’s pretty clear that we’re not going to just pick up right now and continue the superintendent search,” Ms. Beckman said. “That wouldn’t yield us anything at this moment.”

Board member Barbara Perleberg re-emphasized the previous board’s position, saying she thinks her and other returning board members were still in favor of suspending the search and negotiating with Dr. Kriekard first. She also recommended a future executive session to discuss the performance of the agency.

Board member Allyson Beckham said she saw this discussion as a chance to involve the new board members.

“This is a brand new board — five new people,” Ms. Beckham said. “I think that is why this is on (the agenda). Nothing was established and things can change over time but to provide a true democratic process here with our new members (was the goal).”

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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