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Tue, Sept. 17

Howard to replace Smucker as PUSD chief

Joe Howard

Joe Howard

PRESCOTT - It's official: Prescott Unified School District's next superintendent will be Joe Howard.

As the district's current assistant superintendent and a finalist in the district's last superintendent search five years ago, Howard was seen by many as a lock for the post, and the governing board surprised no one with its unanimous decision Tuesday night.

Superintendent Dave Smucker tendered his resignation Dec. 9, just one week after the board voted to close a $2.1 million budget gap for 2015-16 by shuttering two elementary schools and restructuring virtually all levels of instruction and administration districtwide.

The board's then-president, Tina Seeley, told The Daily Courier in December she questioned the wisdom of a superintendent search with such dramatic change in the works. She hinted that the district's next chief executive would likely come from within its own ranks.

The board's new presiding officer, Maureen Erickson, carried that message forward as she all but named the new superintendent a week ago but waited to make it official this week.

Howard takes over as PUSD's top administrator July 1, just as the districtwide restructuring goes into effect.

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