Higley likely to OK superintendent contract - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Higley likely to OK superintendent contract

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Posted: Monday, January 11, 2010 12:42 pm | Updated: 3:40 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

The Higley Unified School District governing board is expected to approve Superintendent Denise Birdwell’s contract at Thursday’s school board meeting.

According to the agenda, board members will seek legal advice in a closed session before approving Birdwell’s contract through 2013.

Birdwell began negotiations with the school board and the district’s attorney after the board voted unanimously Dec. 3 to keep her in the district.

Board members were deciding whether to search for a new superintendent or start contract negotiations with Birdwell.

Birdwell to stay as Higley superintendent

Birdwell took over the top spot in December 2008 from former Superintendent Joyce Lutrey, after Lutrey received a one-year early release from her contract.

Higley High School Principal Larry Rother read a prepared statement at the Dec. 3 meeting signed by all 10 school principals to show their support for keeping Birdwell. Two other district employees also voiced support for Birdwell.

The only person who spoke against Birdwell was an attorney for Brad Niesluchowski, the former information technology director who is under police investigation.

Niesluchowski is accused of taking school computers to use in his home business, downloading pornography, not doing his job correctly and downloading unauthorized software that searches for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Hours before the Dec. 3 school board meeting, Niesluchowski sent board members and the media a lengthy e-mail urging the board not to keep Birdwell as superintendent.

However, no mention of Niesluchowski or his e-mail was made at that meeting, other than his lawyer’s pleas.

Along with the superintendent contract, board members are also expected to discuss budget and salary schedule information for the upcoming school year, discuss middle school electives and elect a president and clerk for the year.

The board is also expected to decide whether to approve a letter of intent to purchase property at the southwest corner of Recker and Pecos roads, consider whether personnel hearings shall be conducted by a hearing officer, and approve a list of student discipline hearing officers.

The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the district office, 2935 S. Recker Road, Gilbert. Anyone can sign up to speak at the meeting by signing a form and giving it to the board secretary before the meeting starts.

For agenda information, visit www.husd.org.

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