Linda O’Dell had hoped to keep her application to the Pine-Strawberry Superintendent position a secret, but in a small town, secrets do not last long.
O’Dell currently serves as the Gila County Superintendent of Schools, an elected position. Her resume includes stints in the Arizona Department of Education and the Maricopa County Superintendent Office administering small schools and the Career Ladder program. She also has a doctorate in education.
With such a background, many express surprise she would apply — yet she loves the quiet life of a small town.
“My husband and I moved up to Pine in 2000,” she said. “He loves it so much he tells me he will never leave.”
She decided to apply for the Pine superintendent position because Mike Clark will retire at the end of the year. The Pine-Strawberry School Board is currently in the midst of searching for a new superintendent.
“I want to focus on my true love — the children,” said O’Dell.
She faces high expectations.
Clark has a stellar reputation with the community after serving for eight years at the helm of the small school district.
His retirement inspired each of the school board candidates in the fall election to run for the board to ensure Clark’s replacement continued the same quality of service.
“I have enjoyed my terms when I was on the (school) board and chose to run again,” said Jessica Barnett. “The district is going to be selecting a new superintendent this year and, having gone through that process before when we hired Mr. Clark, I feel that I can have a positive influence in making that very important choice for our district.”
To introduce the candidates to the parents and staff of the Pine-Strawberry School, the board will host a community meeting and barbecue at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15 in the Pine Community Center.
For more information, please call Mike Clark at (928) 476-3283.