Less than four months after being approved for a job that enveloped him with issues of improper licensing and a dearth of properly qualified site leadership, Before and After School Programs Director Michael Muriett resigned from the Maricopa Unified School District.
Effective Oct. 19, Muriett’s resignation does not mean he is abandoning his relationship with the district as he offered to continue to help with the volunteer program he has overseen, as well as volunteering his time to see the BASP’s Department of Health Services licensing through to completion. That DHS licensing for the three sites – Santa Cruz, Maricopa and Pima Butte elementaries – could take weeks if not months to finish.
Muriett said his resignation was based mostly on opportunity.
“When you get beat up at board meetings on a weekly basis, that plays into it,” said Muriett, a former MUSD Governing Board member himself. “It really comes down to economics. When you put more money and less stress together, it makes (the decision) easier.”
District public relations director Tom Beckett said MUSD hopes to fill Muriett’s shoes with a permanent replacement – one they hope to have in place by Oct. 22.
Former Business Manager Mark Busch, who announced his resignation from the district at the end of September, concluded his 18-month tenure on Oct. 10. Busch, who is taking a job in the Higley Unified School District, was replaced for the interim by Maricopa High School Principal Burnie Hibbard.
With Board Member Tim White as the lone dissenting voter, Hibbard was placed into the role, most likely for the remainder of the school year, although the district will continue to take applications for the position throughout the school year and will readdress applicants for the position in May.
“Hopefully Mr. Hibbard will show the qualifications that he can handle the position,” Superintendant John Flores said.
White questioned why he was not allowed to be a part of the interview process and expressed frustration with an inconsistent number of members on the interview team.
One of the two MHS assistant principals – either Valerie Whitchurch or Jeff Kleck – will assume the role of interim principal. The board has yet to finalize that decision.