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Stanton contract up for HUSD approval Tuesday

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Dr. Paul Stanton has accepted - pending contract negotiations - the offer to serve as superintendent of Humboldt Unified School District, his first position at the topmost rank in a school district.

Stanton has 14 years experience in education, with an initial five years in business.

The HUSD Governing Board unanimously voted to offer a superintendent contract to Stanton. Board members will officially approve a contract at this Tuesday's board meeting. A "complete compensation package" will not exceed $120,000, including benefits, said HUSD Public Relations Director Mariela Bean.

Stanton currently is the assistant superintendent of educational services for the Liberty Elementary School District in Buckeye, a position he has held since 2007. Prior to that, Stanton served as principal of a K-8 school in the Deer Valley Unified School District, where he also taught fourth grade and was an assistant principal at an elementary school and at a middle school.

Stanton's educational background includes a bachelor's degree in marketing and finance from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.; two master's degrees in elementary education and educational administration from Arizona State University; and his doctorate degree in educational administration from ASU.

As one of three finalists in the second round of the district's superintendent search, Stanton appeared at public forums on March 15 and again on March 22. At both forums, he answered questions about what he identified as challenges facing the district.

He cited the decline in enrollment, the need for better technology, professional development, and communication. Expediency in getting information out to the interested parties is one way to improve communication in the district, he said.

"I believe in shared decision-making. I listen to what people have to say," Stanton said. "I ask, 'Why?' before 'How?'."

Between now and his start date with the district, Stanton will travel to Prescott Valley to meet with HUSD Supt. Henry Schmitt and directors at transition meetings that include decisions such as hiring a principal for Coyote Springs Elementary School and an assistant superintendent.

"I am excited. I am very much interested in getting started," he said from Buckeye, where he was visiting classrooms in the Liberty Elementary School District.

Stanton said he plans to join district teachers and administrators for a May 15 door-to-door neighborhood canvass, and to attend an awards banquet.

Schmitt said he felt Stanton was an excellent fit for the district, and the board's choice pleased him.

"I like his energy level. And he has a great philosophy," Schmitt said. "He will bring some fresh new ideas to the district."

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