The Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board in a 5-0 vote April 11 directed its president to enter into contract negotiations with Dr. Krista Anderson to be the next superintendent. Dr. Anderson is executive director of special education in Scottsdale Unified School District.
Voting yes were President Jodi Ehrlich, Vice President Dena Kimble and members Mike Weaver, Christa Rizzi and Cami Garcia.
The governing board voted on Dec. 13 to accept Superintendent Dr. Chad Wilson’s resignation and a settlement agreement.
In January the district solicited public input on candidate issues and priorities to help guide the selection process. It also contracted with the Arizona School Board Association.
On March 22 the governing board met in special session to review 34 applications for the position of AJUSD superintendent. Of those, seven candidates were invited to interview in person March 28 and 29 and three finalists were later chosen. When finalists Dr. Tammy Ridgeway and Dr. JoEtta Gonzales dropped out, the AJUSD governing board convened in an emergency session March 31 and opted to proceed as planned with one remaining finalist, Dr. Anderson.
Board members said they worked many long hours to find the best candidate for superintendent.
“I think this process has been a wonderful process and commend the entire board for the time and attention and devotion to the process. It’s been a laborious process, but it’s been a great process – a learning experience, a good growth opportunity for the board as a whole,” Ms. Ehrlich said in the meeting and prior to the vote.
“It was an honor working with the ASBA; thank you Steve (Highlen) and it was a great process. I’ll tell you, what an experience. I feel real good and positive,” Ms. Kimble said prior to the vote.
“It was an honor to be a part of this process. It’s not something that we took lightly. We were very diligent in going through our applicants and looking through the experience and credentials of the candidates. And I just wanted to thank all of the people applied. It was a tough job… narrowing it down,” Ms. Rizzi said prior to the vote.
“I, too, wanted to thank Steve of the ASBA. He did a great job leading us and keeping us organized. It was a learning process. A lot of commitment from the board. It definitely was an experience,” Ms. Garcia said.
“I really want to thank the staff for their patience, for continuing to do the work that they are tasked with every single day with our administrations at the various schools for keeping their eye on the prize and for keeping things moving in the right direction,” Mr. Weaver said prior to the vote.
Dr. Anderson’s experience, according to a LinkedIn profile, includes:
•July 2016-present: executive director of special education at Scottsdale Unified School District.
•July 2015-June 2016: Director of curriculum and instruction at Paradise Valley Unified School District.
•July 2013-June 2015: associate superintendent of administrative leadership and services at Deer Valley Unified School District.
•July 2011-June 2013: associate superintendent for teaching and learning at Deer Valley Unified School District.
•July 2007-June 2011: principal at Deer Valley Unified School District.
•July 2002-June 2007: principal at Deer Valley Unified School District.
•July 2000-June 2002: assistant principal at Deer Valley Unified School District.
•August 1998-June 2000: eighth-grade math and science teacher at Deer Valley Unified School District.
•February 1994-June 1998: eighth-grade science, math and technology teacher.
Dr. Anderson’s education, according to a LinkedIn profile, includes:
•Grand Canyon University, doctor of education (Ed.D.), organizational leadership with an emphasis in K-12 Leadership.
•Arizona State University, master of education (M.Ed.), educational leadership and administration, general.
•Arizona State University, bachelor of education (B.Ed.), Elementary education.
AJUSD serves students in a 217-square mile area that includes the communities of Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Peralta Trail, Queen Valley and the unincorporated areas of the Superstition Mountain foothills. It has three elementary schools: Desert Vista, 3701 E. Broadway Ave.; Four Peaks, 1785 N. Idaho Road; and Peralta Trail, 10965 E. Peralta Road in Gold Canyon; as well as Cactus Canyon Junior High School, 801 W. Southern Ave., and Apache Junction High School, 2525 S. Ironwood Drive. The school district website is http://ajusd.org/.
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