Payson Superintendent Is Finalist For Valley Job

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Payson Unified School District Superintendent Casey O’Brien is one of three finalists in the Roosevelt School District in Phoenix.

That governing board will interview this month and plans to announce its hire in May.

“My decision to (apply) was not based on any dissatisfaction with PUSD, Payson or the governing board. On the contrary, it has been my privilege to work with an exceptionally supportive community, great district and governing board,” O’Brien wrote in a memo to staff supplied to the Roundup.

Payson School Board President Rory Huff said he discovered O’Brien’s plans about a month ago.

Several contingency plans are in place, Huff said. “We will make a decision that’s best for the Payson school district.”

One possibility includes tapping into the pool of retired superintendents that the Arizona School Board Association has on hand for temporary fixes, Huff said. He added that promoting from within was “always a consideration.”

He said the board wouldn’t worry about finding a replacement until knowing definitively that O’Brien wouldn’t return next year.

“You don’t address something until it’s in place,” he said.

O’Brien wrote that the chance marked “a once-in-a-career opportunity to make a difference in a district that has struggled significantly over the recent years.”

He added, “The Roosevelt District represents a challenge that carries with it absolutely no guarantees of success, but the potential to make a difference for thousands of children.”

The position was the only one he applied for, O’Brien wrote.

Roosevelt is a 12,000-student district located near South Mountain in Phoenix. Other finalists are Glendale Elementary Superintendent Sandra Johnson and Associate Superintendent in Mesa Public Schools Delfino Aleman.

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