Clark County superintendent search, as heard through the grapevine

Everyone and their mothers seem to be potential candidates for the Clark County School District superintendency.

Rumors are swirling, as the movers and shakers watch on the sidelines to see who gets crowned king or queen.

Internally, Chief Academic Officer Mike Barton and franchise Principal John Haynal are among the early favorites.

But when it comes to outside interest, whisperers speak of candidates from New York to California — all of them district ex-pats.

Names circling through the grapevine include Houston Superintendent Richard Carranza, San Antonio Superintendent Pedro Martinez, Jhone Ebert of the New York State Education Department and former interim Chief Financial Officer Eva White.

None of those potential candidates responded to requests for comment.

Some trustees say they’re getting community input on whom they should choose. Most trustees say they’ve had no contact with potential candidates.

Trustee Carolyn Edwards said she spoke in the fall with Carranza and Martinez at a Council of the Great City Schools event in Cleveland, but didn’t urge them to jump into the race.

“I’m not encouraging anybody to apply,” she said. “I think people need to make that decision themselves.”

But for all the insider talk about the next superintendent, sadly there’s not much visible interest from the public.

Four of five public input meetings had an abysmally low turnout, the exception being the lone weekend meeting. Parents are busy, but they also probably see no direct connection between their child and the person who will oversee the education of some 320,000 others.

Online surveys formulated by the search firm, however, sparked a great number of comments. One theme that sticks out in particular: low morale.

“Ill-qualified leaders are negatively impacting the district due to their promotion (‘good old boys club’),” one comment reads. “We need a well-informed leader who can cut through the BS, be politically savvy and earn the trust of hard-working district staff.”

And there’s no shortage of speculation when it comes to outgoing leader Pat Skorkowsky.

The recent pitch to move the district to solar power through a solar project run by Capital Dynamics, Tenaska and Switch sparked a rumor that Skorkowsky was hoping to land at one of those companies after retirement.

Skorkowsky rejected that speculation.

“The superintendent has not received a job offer from any of those companies involved and he is not interested in working for them,” said spokeswoman Kirsten Searer.

It’s the same sort of white noise that accompanies any big leadership change. We’ll have to see if any of it proves to be true.

Board President Deanna Wright, however, doesn’t give much thought to the whirlwind of speculation.

“It’s pretty easy to be an armchair quarterback,” she said, “when you’re not the one putting in the time.”

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter. On Education appears every other Saturday.

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