Payson Unified School District Superintendent Casey O’Brien is one of four finalists for the superintendent’s job at the 35,000-student, K-12 Deer Valley Unified School District.
The Deer Valley board expects to make its decision on May 10.
O’Brien said he didn’t seek the job running the district in a relatively high-income area of the Valley with some of the top-scoring high schools in the state, but got a March 29 letter urging him to apply.
The letter from the district’s search consultant said he had been “nominated” as a candidate and that “any expression of interest on your part and your potential candidacy for this position will be held in strictest confidence.”
O’Brien applied and the district listed him as one of four finalists.He said he notified the Payson school board members that he had applied for the post last Thursday.
O’Brien’s latest application for another job comes at a touchy moment for the district, which has just approved the closure of Frontier Elementary School, the reshuffling of grade distributions and two-dozen resignations and layoffs focused on classroom teachers that have shrunk the district’s staff by about 7 percent.
O’Brien two years ago had applied for a job as superintendent of the Roosevelt School District, but withdrew that application before the board there made a decision. “I had not applied or considered applying for any other superintendent vacancies, including Deer Valley, but such nominations are usually a sign that one would be considered competitive for the position,” said O’Brien.
“After considerable deliberation and discussion with my wife Priscilla, I decided to go forward with the process. While I am honored and frankly humbled by the nomination, I have no reason to expect that I have any more chance of being offered the position than the other three finalists. This is certainly a unique opportunity, but I’m also fortunate to be in Payson with great teachers and staff and a very supportive governing board to work with.”
The other finalists include Littleton elementary district superintendent Roger Freeman, Paradise Valley school district assistant superintendent Karen Gasket, and Saddle Mountain school district superintendent Mark Joraanstad.