The Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board has chosen not to include newly-elected members in the process to select finalists for the district’s open superintendent position – against the advice of consultants it hired to help with the search.
Patty Beckman and Jann-Michael Greenburg were elected Nov. 6 to fill seats vacated by outgoing members Pam Kirby and Kim Hartmann.
Beckman and Greenburg will not take office until after the current board selects finalists from a pool of candidates presented by consultants from McPherson & Jacobson, a national search firm.
The firm is vetting 25 applicants who submitted applications for the job and will present qualified candidates to the board.
Currently, the board plans to learn more about those applicants from the consultants and see videos prepared by candidates in a closed executive session on Dec. 20. The board would then present the finalists it selected to the public at an open meeting.
At a meeting Nov. 19, consultant Thomas Jacobson recommended that the current board include Beckman and Greenburg in the Dec. 20 meeting.
“I think you should invite your two new board members to sit in, not participate, but at least sit in on that process and see the candidates, because they’re going to be interviewing, but that’s a board decision,” Jacobson said.
Despite that recommendation, the current board has not reached out to Beckman or Greenburg as of Nov. 29.
Beckman said that she has not heard from any board members since the election with the exception of a congratulatory email sent from Board Member Allyson Beckham.
Greenburg indicated he also had not heard from the board and went further, stating, “the Governing Board has informed SUSD’s Administration that it has ‘no interest’ in receiving our input.”
Board President Barbara Perleberg referred questions to interim Superintendent John Kriekard, who said in an email: "In my experience, boards of other districts have allowed a variety of input for members-elect. A majority of the board stated they had no interest in having the new board members be a part of the discussions at the meetings...prior to January.
This is not the first time the board has gone against Jacobson’s advice.
In September, Jacobson presented a proposed timeline to the board that included the selection of finalists after the new board was seated.
The board pushed back on that timeline and decided to have finalists chosen in December to give it a say in the selection process.
At the time, Jacobson said he did not see any benefit to the old board selecting finalists.
Beckman and Greenburg will still have a say in making the final pick, though, as the board is scheduled to select the new superintendent on Jan. 28 – well after they take office.
“Regardless, I am hopeful that SUSD will receive applications from excellent candidates and that the (finalists) selected will be high-quality and difficult to choose from,” Greenburg said.