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Clark County School Board extends search for superintendent

The Clark County School Board on Wednesday night agreed to extend the superintendent search process because none of the four finalists put forward by a search firm has ties to the district.

Trustees said they were surprised and upset that Ray and Associates, the search firm they hired to help replace retiring Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky, didn’t include internal candidates on a list made public Friday.

“Most of us would have expected either one or two current or former CCSD people to rise to the top,” said board President Deanna Wright. “That was why I didn’t feel it necessary to stipulate we have one internal or former person.”

The board voted 7-0 to cancel interviews and community meetings scheduled this week. On April 19, the board plans to consider internal and former district candidates to add to the existing list.

Interviews of all candidates would take place April 27, with a community meeting April 28. The board would vote on the candidate May 2.

The finalists are John Deasy, former superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District; Donald T. Haddad, superintendent of St. Vrain Valley Schools in Longmont, Colorado; Shonda Huery Hardman, former chief school support officer for the Houston Independent School District; and Jesus Jara, deputy superintendent of Orange County Public Schools in Florida.

Community support

While board members didn’t mention names while they spoke about adding an internal candidate, that didn’t stop residents at the meeting from advocating for Mike Barton, the district’s chief academic officer.

“He knows out district, he knows our students, he knows our needs,” Rancho High School teacher Robert Cowles said.

“My concern is that there was no one considered on the local level,” Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said. “I’m not here to tell you who you should select; you have your job already lined out for you. I know who I support.”

Others who spoke in support of Barton said it was disrespectful that he wasn’t included in the list.

“You took somebody loyal like Mike Barton and told him he’s not qualified,” said resident David Gomez. “What is wrong with you guys? I’m going to keep fighting it.”

The district, with all of its challenges, doesn’t have time to wait for an external hire to learn the district’s nuances, said former Nevada first lady Sandy Miller.

“In this case, an expert is not someone who lives more than 50 miles away,” she said. “Our children do not have two years to wait for a new educator who will learn on the job and learn the difference between Sandy Valley and Sandy Miller.”

Contact Meghin Delaney at 702-383-0281 or mdelaney@reviewjournal.com. Follow @MeghinDelaney on Twitter.

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