TUSD's Parade of Superintendents Hurts Students

By The | AZ Daily Star, February 26, 2017 | Go to article overview

TUSD's Parade of Superintendents Hurts Students


The, AZ Daily Star


The Butterball turkey in my freezer has a longer shelf life than some of the TUSD superintendents have enjoyed over the past 16 years.

The turnover in the Tucson Unified School District's top job has happened about every two to three years since 2000. Let's count them, shall we?

Stan Paz. Roger Pfeuffer, Elizabeth Celania-Fagen, John Carroll, John Pedicone.

The current guy in the job, H.T. Sanchez, is on publicly shaky ground. He's run afoul of some board members who, after the November election broke up his three-person support bloc, could finally push him out.

Twice so far the board has put his contract on the Governing Board agenda, only to have it pulled the first time and postponed the second. The board will have a third chance to either publicly support Sanchez, or vote on his departure, at a meeting Tuesday evening.

I'm not even going to get into the bad bureaucratic soap opera unfolding, with board members arguing in parking lots over who can do what, who shouldn't be meeting with whom, talk of attorneys, gotchas and power grabs.

This is not how you run a school district.

At least not a school district you want to be good.

I was the Star's education reporter covering TUSD for the years of Paz and Pfeuffer. I'd moved to the editorial department by the time Celania-Fagen came in, and covered her there.

Paz was the local guy done good, coming home to lead the district where he'd worked as a young teacher so many years ago.

Paz coincided with the push toward state standardized testing - remember AIMS? -- and his tenure was turbulent.

He could be engaging, open and forthright in a one-on-one conversation, but didn't translate to large groups of employees trying to find their footing in a time of testing, school labels and a turn toward data as king.

Paz left because of "communication" problems with the Governing Board.

Communication problems have been a constant. …

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