Shepherd Quits

County will fill Payson School Board vacancy

Barbara Shepherd

Barbara Shepherd Photo by Andy Towle. |

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With two more years in her tenure, Payson Unified School District board member Barbara Shepherd has resigned from her position.

Shepherd said her decision to retire from her job at the Gila County District Attorney’s Office precipitated her decision.

“I retired from my job,” she said, “I have three children in the Valley and I want to be close to them.”

Gila County School Superintendent Linda O’Dell received notice of her resignation in early January. In a press release, O’Dell said, she will interview candidates and appoint a replacement. Potential applicants must fill out a short application, including three letters of recommendation and go through an interview process. O’Dell will then select a replacement. O’Dell appointed former PUSD school board member Kim Pound in this same manner.

Pick up applications from the Gila County Education Service Agency at 112 W. Cedar Lane or call (928) 402-8783, or download an application at www.gilacounty schools.org.

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 4. O’Dell will hold interviews Feb. 11 through Feb. 15. She will announce her choice by Feb. 19.

Reelected school board member and former president of the board Barbara Underwood said she is disappointed Shepherd is leaving in the middle of her term. “It’s a shame that only after two years of learning so much she has to leave,” said Underwood. “Her next two years would have been good.”

Underwood said that she appreciated Shepherd’s preparedness and point of view, especially since she did not have children in the district. “She was there for the board — I think she only missed one meeting,” said Underwood. “She always had what’s best for the kids in mind.”

Shepherd said she had enjoyed her four-year tenure on the Globe School Board and felt Payson had a need for her expertise. “Since I had no children, I had the time,” she said. “I felt like I could do some service.”

However, Shepherd said she definitely liked her four years in Globe better because schools had money.

“The two years in Payson were a whole lot harder than the four in Globe,” she said. “Nobody likes cuts, closing a school and letting teachers go — I did not enjoy the last two years.”

She is proud, though, of her part in hiring current superintendent Ron Hitchcock.

“We were lucky he applied,” she said. “The reason I wanted to hire him was that he had run a business. I believe a school is a business, if you don’t know how to run a business, you don’t know how to run a school.”

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