The Gilbert Unified School District will search internally for a new superintendent and plans to choose one in March.
Superintendent Brad Barrett announced two weeks ago he is leaving the district June 30 at the end of his contract. He has been the district’s superintendent for seven years.
The district governing board discussed how the district should search for a superintendent at a study session Tuesday, then approved the recommendations at the school board meeting later that night.
In the study session, the board agreed searching internally would be the best and smartest thing to do.
Board members also expressed excitement about upcoming interviews and discovering what candidates will suggest to move the district forward.
“I think we’ve got excellent candidates on site, and we know them well,” board member Helen Hollands said. “Based on where the district is now and our growth in excellence, (I’m) not sure if it’s a huge value to needing an outside look. There’s not a staleness.”
Board member Elaine Morrison said searching internally sends a “strong message of loyalty.”
“I’m all for new blood, too, but at the level we’re talking about, unless we’re looking for new direction,” it’s not needed, Morrison said. “We’re not broken.”
Before he was chosen as the Gilbert superintendent, Barrett had been superintendent of the Kyrene Elementary School District since 1993. He worked 14 years in the Gilbert district before going to Kyrene.
The board agreed it will not hire an outside consultant for the search and will instead rely on the district’s human resources department. Nikki Blanchard, the district’s associate superintendent for personnel, will lead the interview process.
Morrison was appointed as the board representative to work with Blanchard on the day-to-day process and bring reports back to the board.
The board stressed choosing a superintendent sooner rather than later and will target the first board meeting in March to decide on a replacement. Applications should be available for candidates to work on over the winter break, and interviews should start in February, the board agreed.
The board will put together a survey, possibly on the district Web site, to get input from the community on what to look for in a new superintendent.
The board will also use criteria developed by community members during the last superintendent search.