Already Hired

Tonto Basin superintendent finds job with county schools

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Outgoing Tonto Basin Superintendent Mary Lou Weatherly has already found a new home with Gila County Superintendent Linda O’Dell’s office.

Meanwhile, the tiny Tonto Basin School District continues to look for a new superintendent/principal — and to recover from the divisions created by the parent complaints that prompted Weatherly’s resignation. The school board on April 7 decided to seek a full-time principal, but try to find a consultant superintendent to help the district cope with new assessment and curriculum mandates from the state.

County Superintendent O’Dell welcomed Weatherly.

“Mary Lou is very gifted,” said O’Dell. “She’ll be a great fit for our team.”

Weatherly will join county schools as a curriculum specialist. O’Dell says she will provide professional development and support to teachers around the county primarily to align curriculum and teaching to the new Common Core standards.

Weatherly’s tenure as the superintendent/principal of the Tonto Basin School ends on June 30.

Weatherly will start in the Payson office of the Gila County superintendent’s office on July 1.

At the same time, the Tonto School will need new leadership, as school starts up in July.

School board members have already met in executive session to discuss all the options, said Jackie Spear, board member.

On Tuesday, April 7, the board voted to try an innovative approach submitted by Weatherly.

She suggested the district hire a full-time principal to cover the day-to-day operations and staff issues, and a part-time itinerant or consultant superintendent to research and develop to the changes mandated by the state and federal government.

“It’s a creative way to have a superintendent contracted-type employee to address the changes through the Common Core standards, changing teacher evaluations, and student achievement, while the principal covers the operations,” said Weatherly. “Why are we looking for a magic bullet in one person?”

Weatherly said she believes the district could find a person, maybe retired, who would like to return to work part-time to fill the superintendent job.

“This job can be done off-site,” said Weatherly. “It is a lot of research and understanding mandates.”

She said the board will post the two jobs on the Arizona Department of Education Web site and other education Web sites in the state.

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