SUSD’s latest acting superintendent tenure set for 123 days

Dr. John Kriekard (photo by SUSD)

Editor’s note: an earlier version of this story should have stated Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board Vice President Kim Hartmann was the sole dissenting vote. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Dr. John A. Kriekard was selected as acting superintendent by the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board on Friday, May 11, by a 4-1 vote.

Governing Board Vice President Kim Hartmann was the dissenting vote.

Earlier that week, on May 7, the board voted 4-0 to direct legal counsel to notify Dr. John Kriekard and Dr. Milissa Sackos the board would like to interview them for the position of acting superintendent.

A Request for Qualifications process for the interim superintendent search will continue, district officials say. The RFQ was sent out to nine vendors on May 1, and responses are due May 15.

On May 14, the Governing Board and Dr. Kriekard agreed upon an employment contract for May 14-Sept. 13.

According to the SUSD website, Dr. Kriekard has 40 years of combined experience as both an educator and administrator, spending more than half of his career — 23 years — serving Scottsdale schools. Most notably, he served as principal in three of the five learning communities, the website states.

He went on to lead the Paradise Valley Unified School District as superintendent.

Dr. Kriekard is the recipient of the All Arizona Superintendent of the Year Award, as well as the Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communications Award, the website states. He earned his doctorate from Arizona State University and his master’s degree from Western Michigan University.

The Governing Board’s motion to hire Dr. Kriekard simultaneously approved Dr. Amy Fuller to return to her position as administrator on assignment at Coronado High School. Dr. Fuller had been serving as acting superintendent since February.

Scottsdale Schools’ administration has been embattled with several public outcries regarding school construction projects, teacher employment agreements, a hired architecture firm, procurement practices, nepotism, conflicts of interest and overall lack of community trust for several months.

SUSD Superintendent Dr. Denise Birdwell was placed on paid administrative leave Feb. 21 following a public rally prior to a Feb. 13 Governing Board meeting.

“As the room knows we had two candidates. We were in that room after the interviews for more than a couple of hours and for very good reason,” Governing Board member Pam Kirby said during the May 11 meeting.

“Dr. Sackos is an extraordinarily valued employee. I see Dr. Sackos as having incredible future potential in this district if she chooses.”

Board member Sandy Kravetz and Vice President Kim Hartmann echoed similar sentiments, while President Barbara Perleberg thanked Dr. Fuller for her service.

“I’d like to make a comment: first off, our gratitude to Dr. Fuller for stepping in to this role during what none of us even knew at the time would be a difficult and tumultuous time, to say the least,” Governing Board President Barbara Perleberg said.

“We’re incredibly grateful for your leadership and what you’ve done. I know myself as a board member have heard the cries for your return to the Coronado Success Initiative, and the valuable leadership you bring there has been missed.”

After voting on his contract, the Governing Board invited Dr. Kriekard to the podium, where he recognized a quick and easy employment process before noting three of his beliefs.

“I just want to say one thing about my belief system that drives my actions — three fairly simple statements that I think embody what I do,” he said.

“No. 1, you treat students with respect; No. 2, you treat all staff as professional colleagues; and No. 3, you treat parents as partners in the education of their young people. If those drive our actions, they certainly drive mine, then we know the bottom line is always the teaching and learning situation in the schools.”

Northeast Valley News Services 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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