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Jara, despite a troubled tenure, outlasted most Clark County schools superintendents

Superintendent Jesus Jara’s tenure with the Clark County School District was a choppy one marked by his firing, rehiring and renewed calls for his firing before the school board approved his resignation in February.

Yet his term was the fourth longest in the district’s almost 70-year history and longer than average for superintendents of the largest districts in the country, research shows.

In May 2018, a divided school board picked Jara, a deputy superintendent in Orange County, Florida, to lead Clark County schools. He lasted two months shy of six years, almost a year more than the average tenure at districts with more than 100,000 students, according to news reports on a 2018 study by the Broad Center, which analyzed 15 years’ worth of data.

With 300,000 students, Clark County is the fifth-largest school district in the country.

At the 100 biggest districts in the country, the average tenure was about six years, according to the study.

The Clark County School District is now searching for a new leader at a time of considerable superintendent turnover across the country, some research suggested.

More than one in five leaders of the nation’s 500 largest school districts left their positions in the 2022-2023 school year, according to the Ilo Group, an education consulting firm.

A survey of 222 superintendents by the Rand Corporation in 2022 found that 13 percent planned to leave their job at the end of the school year. Job-related stress topped superintendents’ reasons for considering leaving their position, with school-board relations ranking as the second-highest reason. School boards are responsible for both hiring and firing superintendents.

After a spate of superintendent firings in California, state lawmakers last year passed a bill requiring a cooling-off period, according to nonprofit newsroom EdSource. The law prohibits school boards from firing a superintendent or assistant superintendent within 30 days of a new board member being seated or recalled.

The Clark County School Board, which was divided in its support of Jara at the time of his resignation, has said it hopes to have a new superintendent in place by November.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or at 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on X.

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