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Fri, March 22

New PUSD superintendent expecting to name assistant post soon



David Smucker may not officially move into the Prescott School District Superintendent's office until July 1, but he has been popping in at the district office for a day or two during the past few weeks.

During a trip to Prescott this past week, Smucker interviewed three people for the assistant superintendent of human resources job.

Current human resources director Dr. Chris Reynolds is retiring as of June 30.

PUSD Superintendent Kevin Kapp, whose last day on the job is June 22, said the district received five applications for Reynolds' position. The applicants included Prescott High School Principal Totsy McCraley, PHS Assistant Principal Jim Wells, Prescott Mile High Middle School Principal Joe Howard, Granite Mountain Middle School Principal Stephanie Hillig, and Paul Olson from Lake Havasu City.

An interview committee narrowed the applicants to three candidates.

Smucker interviewed McCraley, Wells and Howard Thursday morning. He anticipates making a decision soon.

According to Kapp, the passage of Proposition 100 allowed the district to fill the assistant superintendent's position.

"If Prop. 100 had failed, we would have partially filled the position, or not at all," Kapp said. "The passage of Prop. 100 is creating a positive ripple effect allowing PUSD to keep this position. Since PUSD is lean administratively, we are pleased."

Smucker followed the Prop. 100 vote from his home in Rifle, Colo. Without Prop. 100, he said the district would have had to "go back, look at this job description, and see where it could absorb that position and responsibilities."

Smucker added that he is grateful to the voters in Arizona for supporting public education.

While PUSD is a bit bigger that the Rifle School District, "So many things are the same such as federal and state regulations, and testing," the new superintendent said.

A change in the superintendent's office does not mean a change in the challenges facing the district.

PUSD will continue to face financial challenges. Despite the passage of Prop. 100, the district must still cut $2 million from its 2010-11 budget.

"PUSD is doing a good job spending its money. It must continue to offer every kid the opportunity to learn," Smucker said. "Every student is different and we have to look at how we offer that opportunity."

As the new superintendent, Smucker thinks his biggest challenge will be to "be patient; to listen and learn not only from the staff and administrators, but also the community. I want to see what is working for kids. This is a high achieving district. I am not going to come in and change things for change sake."

Smucker enjoys working in a learning organization rather than a bureaucracy.

"I like to have decisions made by the people it effects. I want them to be part of the solution; part of a collaborative effort. I would rather

go slow to go fast," he said.

The entire Smucker family, wife Nancy, and children, Chad, 12, and Emma, 10, is ready to move to Prescott.

Living in Rifle was a great experience, but Smucker has had his eye on Arizona for a long time.

After graduation from the Northern Illinois University, he visited his grandparents in the Phoenix area. He interviewed and was offered a teaching job in Phoenix, but decided to accept a job in Illinois. His parents winter in Arizona, so family was a major consideration in moving to Prescott.

"We like the size of the community. There are more restaurants and things to do. We like the culture here. Both kids like to participate in athletics and they are looking forward to making new friends," Smucker said.

Smucker has some things in common with Kapp. He likes to hike, bike and "loves to be outside. I enjoy attending activities with the kids and attending local theater productions. This area provides so many things we enjoy doing."


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