Though he resides just outside Park City, Utah, Mingus Union High School Interim Superintendent Jack Keegan is no stranger to Arizona school district politics — or, for that matter, acting as a superintendent for school districts in transition.
From 2013 to 2014, Keegan was interim superintendent of Gilbert Public School District, administering a board that was described by various media outlets as tense and divided. Ultimately, Keegan handed in his resignation early.
“To be honest, the board didn’t function very well together,” Keegan said. “I’ve done [transitions] a few times before .... You have to catch up, figure out where things are and what needs to be done. We have the budget coming up, for instance.
“Right now, things look in good shape.”
Prior to his stint in Gilbert, Keegan had spent four decades in education in seven school districts across the country. In 2006 and 2007, he lived in Iowa, serving as interim superintendent of Council Bluffs Community School District Board of Education.
At MUHSD, Keegan replaces Eric Harmon, himself an interim superintendent who decided not to apply for the permanent position and was dismissed without a stated reason by the MUHSD Governing Board in January. Harmon had served less than a year.
Retired, Keegan said that he hadn’t been courting a new opportunity, but when MUHSD called he agreed to do a phone interview — from the Patagonia region of Argentina, where he and his wife were on vacation — and accepted the board’s offer.
According to Keegan, his role is restricted to interim superintendent duties. Unless directed by the board to do so, he will have no part in selecting a permanent superintendent for the district.
“They’ve got a whole process set up, which is the right way to go about it,” Keegan said. “I’ll help in any way I can, but these decisions should be up to the local people. They have to live with [the new superintendent]. I don’t.
“But I’ll do whatever I can to make it a smooth transition.”