Payson Unified School District Superintendent Casey O’Brien won’t be leaving after all — at least for now.
That’s because he came in second in the selection process in the 35,000-student Deer Valley Unified School District, which had invited him to apply for the top post.
“They felt the other guy was a better match,” said O’Brien.
However, the superintendent said the process ultimately made him appreciate what he had running a small district in a beautiful setting.
“Let’s just say there were quality of life issues: I’m not unhappy. I was honored to be considered and I think it helps make me a better superintendent to reflect on things that have happened.”
However, the district will lose Assistant Superintendent Bobette Sylvester, who has resigned to take a job in the financial offices of the 69,000-student Mesa Unified School District, which has no less than 70 schools.
The Payson School Board Monday night accepted her resignation and approved recruitment for a new director of finance — at a lower salary schedule than that of Sylvester, who worked at the district for 16 years.
The board also accepted the resignation of veteran teacher, former curriculum director and former Frontier Elementary School principal Gail Gorry.
Three other classified staff members have also submitted their resignations, which come in the wake of layoffs of both teachers and classified staff.
O’Brien said the district will probably end up filling all of the newly vacated positions. He said laid off staff members can apply, but won’t necessarily have priority to fill one of the vacant positions.
O’Brien said that he was happy that he would be staying in Payson and that he’s not looking for other jobs. He would not have applied for the Deer Valley job if he hadn’t been invited to apply by a member of the search committee.
O’Brien last year was a finalist for the job running the Roosevelt School District, but withdrew his application when the board delayed the hiring process.
“The whole experience has made me feel grateful for what I’ve got here,” said O’Brien. “We’re fundamentally in a relationship business. In Payson, it’s on a very personal level — where you have a chance of knowing the kids.”