5 Finalists Chosen To Replace Myers

Residents invited to meet candidates Feb. 8


Parents, teachers and other community members will soon have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of the five finalists selected to replace Sue Myers as superintendent of the Payson Unified School District.

The question-and-answer period will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at Rim Country Middle School.

Those who attend will be assigned to one of five separate RCMS classrooms. The finalists will then rotate through each of the rooms answering questions.

Earlier in the day, the finalists will tour all six Payson school sites, spending about 45 minutes at each.

On Feb. 9, the school board is scheduled to interview the candidates and have set a goal of announcing the new superintendent at the Feb. 12 board meeting.

"We are confident that out of this selection process we will hire a superintendent who can lead our schools into the future," said school board president Viki Holmes.

Myers, who served as district superintendent the past two years, will retire at the end of the school year.

An application review committee, comprised of district staff and community members, chose the five finalists from a list of 15 applicants assembled by Search Solutions -- a private consulting firm hired last year to scour the nation for candidates.

Joann Mortensen, a partner in the company, said the process to select a new superintendent began when she visited Payson in October to consult with school staff and citizens about what qualities they'd like to see in the new superintendent.

In the public forum, the qualifications, leadership skills and education of the new superintendent were discussed.

After a profile of what the community desires was finalized and all applications received, the review committee met "under the direction of Search Solutions to individually score all applicants," Holmes said.

The results were discussed Jan. 29 in executive session by the school board and the five finalists were later announced.

The candidates

The finalists include William Casey O'Brien, Don Jay Clark, Michael Melton, Linda J. Nelson and Roy Sandoval.

O'Brien is a past superintendent for Curriculum/Instruction and Academic Achievement for the Nogales School District.

He is currently on leave from that position for "personal family reasons," Myers said.

O'Brien has teaching and administrative degrees from Union College and National University.

Clark, currently a principal and superintendent in the Cordova, Alaska School District, attended the University of California at Davis and California State Sacramento.

Melton earned degrees at Arizona State University, Nova University and is the Superintendent of Buckeye Elementary School District.

Nelson is a retired superintendent from Chino Valley School District and has degrees from Stanford University, Southern Illinois University and Antioch Graduate School.

Sandoval, currently the principal at Payson High School, is a PHS alumnus who received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Northern Arizona University.

He served a stint as principal at Payson Elementary School, taught biology at PHS and also coached wrestling, football and softball at the school.

Sandoval was also a curriculum director under former PUSD Superintendent Russ Kinzer.

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