The Mingus Union High School District Governing Board hired Nancy Alexander as the interim superintendent, now that the current superintendent, Scott Dunsmore, has been placed on administrative leave.
Alexander served as superintendent for the Sedona-Oak Creek School District from its inception in 1991 through 2004. She will fill in two to three days a week at $425 a day for the remainder of the 2008-09 school year, according to the contract the board and Alexander signed.
Mingus business manager Kirk Waddle told the board that the amount was the going rate for an interim superintendent.
The announcement came at a special Mingus board meeting Friday, Oct. 3, at 7 a.m. in the school’s cafeteria after the board approved the contract with a three to zero vote. Council members Jim Ledbetter and Andy Groseta were out of town.
“These are very difficult times. I think Ms. Alexander is exactly the right person to come in until we get things cleared up,” board member Tom Parmartar said. “Whether the board is screwed up or the superintendent is screwed up, I want to ensure that education goes on as smooth as possible and we take a deep breath.”
On Sept. 29, in another special board meeting, board members said the school has experienced some communication problems among the administration, the board and staff.
At that meeting, the board performed an open-meeting evaluation of Dunsmore’s performance, at his request. At the end of that meeting, following a 30-minute executive session, the board voted five to one to place Dunsmore on administrative leave.
Alexander presented three goals for the interim position. They included the successful completion of the school year, a transition strategy for the new superintendent and to continue to promote a professional learning community throughout the school district.
She also listed several priorities that will be her focus, including to oversee the bond project, improve communications and provide support for the staff and community outreach.
Alexander began her duties Oct. 3 at 8 a.m. and will hold the interim position until June 30, 2009, when a new superintendent will be hired for the 2009-10 school year.
She said performing superintendent duties is something she enjoys doing.
“You take a set of skills you’ve honed over 30 years, come in and pull on those skills and problem solve. That’s a welcome challenge for me,” Alexander said.
While superintendent in Sedona, Alexander said she worked with Mingus on many projects, such as forming the Valley Academy of Career and Technology Education.
“I have a very high regard for this school,” she said.
Mingus Board President Bryan Detwiler said the board is pleased to have Alexander on board to help with the transition to a new superintendent.
“As a former superintendent of schools, she has an excellent working knowledge of the needs of our students, staff and parents. I am confident that Ms. Alexander can help the board and administration team put together a comprehensive transition plan for our district,” Detwiler said.