Hiring Process: School board needs to step away 2013.06.26

At the May 8 meeting of the Morenci Board of Education, one board member quoted the president of the Hudson board saying that Morenci’s group engages in too much micro-managing—engagement to the point of making the superintendent ineffective.

Another Morenci board member added that it’s not the board’s role to make cuts in the school program. That’s why a superintendent is hired, he said, suggesting that the board needs to establish a clear set of goals for the superintendent and then support the leader‚ without interference.

How ironic that a month later board members are interfering with the administration once again. In this case, interviews for a third grade teaching position were halted in the middle of the process and postponed until later in the summer.

We’ve heard more than one version of the story and none of them sound good. We’ve been given reasons why it was done and none of them justify the action.

A committee of teachers, working with the elementary school principal, was well on its way to choosing the best candidate. They evaluated résumés and were using their knowledge of the current staff’s strengths and weaknesses to choose the best overall candidate.

That process was called off in the middle of the search and now Morenci may have already lost the candidate who could have become the best prospect needed to complete the staff.

Some board members want to have the new interim superintendent in place before a teacher is hired—someone completely unfamiliar with the elementary school staff and someone who will only be here on an interim basis. And not only that, at least one board member wants to be part of the  interview process.

Principal Mary Fisher has been involved in hiring several teachers during her tenure here, and to our knowledge, board of education members have not been involved in that process. Of course they would hire a superintendent, but not a classroom teacher. There seems to be something behind this.

By now the board should have been ready to consider the committee’s recommendation for a new teacher—some-one who could participate in the summer training sessions at the ISD with other staff members, who could begin coordinating curriculum for the next year. We’re putting off an important decision for what reason?

Board members spoke in May about keeping clear of administrative actions, but apparently it was just too difficult. If the board continues to exceed its role and meddle in administrative duties, a red flag will be attached to the name Morenci Area Schools. Administrators must be allowed to do their job.