Dr. Gregory Wyman has accepted the Payson Unified School District’s (PUSD) offer to become the next superintendent of the district.
PUSD school board president Barbara Underwood said when she called his home Thursday evening to share the good news, she spoke with his wife as he had his own school board meeting to attend.
“She said, ‘I have tears in my eyes,’” said Underwood. “You could hear the gratitude in her voice.”
Underwood said the two would meet on Friday to discuss the details of the contract since Wyman had meetings all day Thursday.
The Roundup reached Wyman between meetings to ask what his plans are to transition into the Payson superintendent position.
“I’m trying to figure out a way to get up there. I’ll trade out a vacation day here and there — but I plan on being at school board meetings,” said Wyman.
He offered to meet community members and answer questions at any of the meetings he attends.
Wyman had been a runner-up with Johnny Ketchem for the interim superintendent position in January, but the former PUSD principal and Tonto Basin superintendent Ketchem secured the position.
Wyman said he and his wife have had an interest in living in Payson since the years he worked at Snowflake. They would pass through Payson on their way down to Phoenix. His voice trembled with excitement as he talked about moving to Payson.
“I’ve spent more years in small towns than big,” he said.
In his interviews with Payson community members and school staff, Wyman said he would always listen.
Wyman said throughout his life and career, because he focused on building strong relationships and honoring communities’ culture, he found he could help.
“You have to meet them and respect them,” he said, “I don’t have all the answers, but collectively we can come up with answers.”
Rim Country community members said they appreciated Wyman’s respectful balancing act between his career and his family’s needs. During his interviews, Wyman said most of his career moves were guided by family needs. Now, everything has come together to support his to move to Payson.
“I always said, ‘If the timing was right,’” said Wyman. “There had been openings other times, but the kids were in school. Now, the timing is right.”
Wyman also said he believes strongly in respecting staff.
He told the story of his daughter giving him the book, “The Disney Way,” for Christmas. He said he was shocked to read that Disney did not consider customer service the top priority. Instead, Disney believed if staff were treated well, the customer would be well served.
“If staff feels respected they will respect the customer,” said Wyman during his interviews earlier in the week.
Three years ago, Wyman applied for the superintendent position at Tempe Union High School where he had served for two years.
In an article by the Republic, Wyman was quoted as saying he had a commitment to recruiting and retaining quality teachers, student achievement, and doing more with less.
Although the Tempe school board chose Kenneth Baca over Wyman, he remained second in command for the past three years until interviewing for the Payson position.
Wyman has a son attending Northern Arizona University and a daughter going to school in North Dakota.
“I told my daughter she was on her own, there was no way I would move there,” he said to Rim Country residents making them laugh.