Dr. Kriekard is given proverbial head nod to remain at SUSD

Dr. John Kriekard (photo by SUSD)

The Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board has decided to abandon an interim superintendent search, and extend Acting Superintendent Dr. John Kriekard’s contract through June 30, 2019.

Additionally, the Governing Board voted to enter into discussions with McPherson & Jacobson LLC for a permanent superintendent search.

The decisions on future leadership at SUSD came during a Tuesday, Aug. 14, Governing Board meeting. The week prior, the Governing Board met to discuss an interim superintendent and permanent superintendent searches.

On May 14, the Governing Board and Dr. John Kriekard agreed upon an employment contract for May 14 through Sept. 13 to serve as acting superintendent.

In April, the SUSD interim superintendent job post and description were listed. Meanwhile, on April 18, the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board directed staff to use the request-for-quote process to hire a consultant to assist with the interim superintendent search.

Previously, the Governing Board had said it would like to find an interim leader quickly, and spend time searching for a permanent superintendent.

The original timeline for the interim superintendent search included screening and interviewing applicants in May.

According to SUSD General Counsel Michelle Marshall, the district asked firms who responded to the interim RFQ to provide a bid for the permanent search as well.

SUSD parent Mike Norton — and co-founder of the anonymous Respect Our Scottsdale Schools Facebook fanpage — started a petition to retain Dr. Kriekard as interim superintendent while a permanent search unfolds. The Change.org petition, “SUSD SUPERINTENDENT: No Change Until New Board Appointed” has garnered more than 1,200 signatures, he says.

In a community letter signed by Mr. Norton, Rose Wright, Dan Drake, Mark Alan Greenurg, Gayle Holland and 15 other signers, the board was urged to stop the recruitment process and extend Dr. Kriekard’s contract.

During the Aug. 14 meeting, Governing Board President Barbara Perleberg announced that the Governing Board would like to authorize the district’s legal department to move forward with direction given in the board’s executive session to extend Dr. Kriekard’s contract.

“I just want to thank you very much for the opportunity to continue with what I think is significant action to move Scottsdale forward,” Dr. Kriekard said.

“And thank the community and staff for the support during these weeks; I know that comes with expectations. I will work together with you and the board to meet those expectations. Again, this is about students, about teaching and learning. We will be student focused as we move forward with respect and professionalism.”

Ms. Perleberg said she’s “very thrilled” to move forward with Dr. Kriekard.

“Today’s discussions with the board and your cabinet has infused a lot of hope in all of us,” she said.

The approval to move forward with McPherson & Jacobson for a permanent search will allow for details of the scope of work to be ironed out over future weeks, SUSD officials said.

Governing Board Vice President Kim Hartmann noted some of the firm’s qualifications that she liked, including a 5-step process, a national database to pursue candidates from and an interest in education.

The criteria a three-member committee evaluated RFQ responses included experience and qualifications, scope of services and cost of services, Ms. Hartmann said.

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at mrosequist@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/mrosequist_.

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