The Mesa Public Schools Governing Board today placed Superintendent Dr. Ember Conley on paid non-disciplinary administrative leave, but gave no reason for taking the action.
The board also appointed Deputy Superintendent Dr. Andi Fourlis to temporarily lead Arizona’s largest public school district.
The board briefly emerged from an early-morning executive session to make the announcement and then went back behind closed doors.
The only comment came from board President Elaine Miner, who said, the board is “working diligently to try and do the right thing.”
There was no indication how long Conley’s leave would last and no explanation for the unexpected board meeting.
Conley, 47, was appointed superintendent early last year, replacing Dr. Michael Cowan, who retired after nine years in the district’s top slot to answer a call from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to go on a three-year mission to the Dominican Republic.
The first person in her family to graduate from college, Conley launched her teaching career in Cortez, Colorado, where she taught children from the Navajo and the Ute Mountain Ute reservations.
Conley eventually worked as a deputy superintendent and as a director of assessment and elementary school principal in Maricopa, and spent five years as superintendent of the Park City School District.
There had been no indication at the board’s regular meeting last week of any issue that might explain today’s action.
It comes just a few weeks after district officials won a crucial override election.
Fourlis works closely with other members of the Educational Services administration in the delivery of the educational program and all day-to-day operations in each classroom at every school according to the district’s website.
She is a former assistant superintendent at Scottsdale Unified School District and former Chief Learning Officer for the Arizona Science Center.