Tim Foist takes the reins at Mingus Union High School this week with the district’s full support despite rumors unleashed after he was hired.
Mingus Union High School District Governing Board offered Foist the superintendent position March 28, and Foist signed his contract March 30.
Days later, a former employee of Foist’s began calling community leaders to inform them of a lawsuit he filed against Foist in 2003.
MUHS Governing Board President John Tavasci said the lawsuit doesn’t change how the board feels about Foist.
“We’re behind him 100 percent,” Tavasci said.
Charles Haussman, who worked as a junior high school principal under Foist at the Holbrook School District, named Foist and the Holbrook School District Governing Board in a lawsuit that claimed Foist treated Haussman unfairly and the board allowed Foist to act in such a way.
The suit was settled out of court, and Haussman was allowed to keep his job in the school district.
“I was a junior high principal for many years. He [Foist] called me and lit into me with a long list of how inept and hated I was,” Haussman said.
Foist was the superintendent at Holbrook for four years before he went to Yuma, where he served as superintendent for three years. He said he simply wanted to move Haussman from a position he wasn’t successful at to assistant principal of the high school.
According to Foist, he has a record of shuffling employees around a district based on their strengths and weaknesses, and some of those employees are now leading their schools.
“Mr. Haussman didn’t blossom,” Foist said. He was given the opportunity to learn and he didn’t take it.
“He’s still mad at me,” Foist said.
Mingus hired Search Solutions, which did a thorough background check on Foist, Tavasci said. Tavasci called Search Solutions again after Haussman surfaced.
“These kinds of things are going to happen when you have a disgruntled employee,” Tavasci said.
Otherwise, the board has heard wonderful things about Foist on recent trips to Yuma, according to Tavasci, and it isn’t going to let Haussman’s case affect its decision. The board does not want to start the hunt for a superintendent again based on one accusation.
Foist was en route to Cottonwood on Monday, April 20, and said he hoped to be on the job by Wednesday, April 22.
His first order of business will be to sit down with department chairs and discuss future expectations, according to Foist. From there, he’d like to participate in a work session with the board in May to discuss goals and strategies.
“I want to know what their ideas are early,” Foist said.
Then, he wants to meet with the community. His door will be open for comments, concerns and ideas.
“I want to be a very good listener,” Foist said.
His goal is to build success for students and staff at Mingus.
“This is the best opportunity I believe I’ve had,” Foist said.
Foist is returning from a year and a half hiatus after he retired from Yuma Union High School District in 2007.
Before Yuma, he was superintendent at Holbrook for four years and Auburn Community Schools in Auburn, Neb., for two years. He has more than 30 years of experience in education and has worked in an administrative capacity for more than 20 years.
Lu Stitt also contributed to this story.