Welcome to the circus, Johnny. We kinda wish you weren’t here — but we certainly wish you well.
All right. Maybe that’s harsh. Guess we’ve got to get over the Payson School Board’s obtuse insistence on hiring a interim superintendent on a 3-2 vote, after forcing the abrupt departure of Superintendent Ron Hitchcock after a hectic, 18-month tenure.
The board on Friday hired former Tonto Basin Superintendent Johnny Ketchem to mind the shop for the three to six months it will likely take to find a new, full-time superintendent.
Ketchem has spent his whole life in education, much of it in Payson, where he rose to the position of principal of both Julia Randall and Payson Elementary schools.
By all accounts he did a first-rate job running things in the Tonto Basin School District.
His wife served the district faithfully as well, before retiring as principal of Payson High School.
We didn’t think spending money on an interim superintendent made much sense, given the high-paid, high-powered talent available at the district office. But heck: Maybe the board will get its money’s worth if it at least ends up with someone to blame for whatever happens in the next couple of months of lion taming.
Still, Ketchem brings with him a deep knowledge, a genial manner and a long devotion to students. Lord knows, he’ll have plenty to keep him busy, what with the school crowding, budget bewilderment and onerous state and federal mandates about to come thundering through the center ring like a bunch of demented elephants in tutus.
Hopefully, Mr. Ketchem’s long experience has given him the overlapping skills of a juggler, acrobat and ringmaster. So welcome to the circus, Mr. Ketchem. No doubt about it: This is shaping up to be the greatest show on earth.