The search is under way for a new principal for Julia Randall Elementary School.
The school's current chief administrator, Sue Clark, who is now completing her third year in the position, has accepted an offer to serve as principal for a larger elementary school in the Valley.
Herb Weissenfels, superintendent of the Payson Unified School District, says that 13 applications for the job have been received thus far.
"We start the interview process next week," he said. "We have a selection committee consisting of parents, teachers, classroom representatives and another district principal who will narrow the list down to eight, and those are the candidates who'll be interviewed."
That done, the committee and PUSD board members will convene to make their final selection "based on the recommendation of the board during either the May meeting or in a special meeting before that which could give the new principal a chance to meet the staff before the end of this school year," Weissenfels said. "If none of the candidates we interview turn out to be satisfactory, we'll start the process all over."
The search began in February, when Clark notified PUSD that she had accepted the principalship of Park Meadows Elementary School in the Deer Valley School District in northwest Phoenix.
"We've advertised throughout the nation through the professional organizations and colleges in the state, and they disseminate (the advertisements) across the rest of the nation particularly through college and placement bureaus," Weissenfels said.
When an application is received, he explained, it is "paper screened" and either accepted or rejected until "the list is narrowed down to where we can manage it," he said. "We try to get only people who appear to have potential from the outside, and who are actually certified; that's an automatic."
Weissenfels called Clark's departure "a real loss for us, but completely understandable," as her new job represents "quite a large promotion, in size (of the school) and financially."
Park Meadows Elementary has an enrollment of 750 students in grades preschool through sixth.
The decision to make the move was "very difficult for both my husband and me, as we have come to love the people and climate in Payson," Clark said. "It has been especially difficult for me to leave such an exemplary staff ... I can honestly say I have found the JRE staff to be very dedicated, constantly focusing on helping all students experience success."
During her three years at JRE, Clark said, she was privileged to see rising test scores, the institution of new student recognition and academic success programs, and a dramatic decrease in discipline problems.
"I will miss all of the wonderful people in Payson, and will always hold fond memories of my years at Julia Randall Elementary School," Clark said.