UPDATE: Clark County School District approves contract for new superintendent

Board of Trustees split on decision

UPDATE ON MAY 18: The Clark County School District officially has a new superintendent.

Trustees approved the contract for Dr. Jesus Jara on Thursday night.

Dr. Jara plans to officially join CCSD on June 19.

Jara comes from Orange County, Florida. Parents at his most recent school district day he is well liked and straightforward. 

UPDATE 7:40 P.M. MAY 2: Newly-appointed CCSD Supertindent Jesus F. Jara released the following statement this evening:

“I’m humbled and honored to be chosen as the next Superintendent of the Clark County School District, and my excitement for the job has only grown seeing the passion of the entire CCSD community firsthand. I want to thank the Board for choosing me from a group of incredibly talented and dedicated candidates. Education changed my life; it gave me opportunity. Ensuring that every single student gets that same opportunity is why I first became a teacher and what drives my work every day. I could not be more eager to get to work alongside CCSD’s incredible teachers, principals, and staff to build on and accelerate the district’s progress, and I look forward to starting by listening to the entire Clark County community about what has been working and where we can continue to improve.” 

UPDATE 2:10 P.M.: The Clark County Education Association released a statement on the selection.

"CCEA is prepared to work in good faith with the new Superintendent Jesus Jara. The current state of labor relations between CCSD and CCEA is at an all-time low. This is not an inconsequential problem. Unless solved soon it will spill over into the next school year. We’ve seen the wave of educators sweeping the country. Clark County is no exception. CCSD has lost two straight arbitrations with CCEA with a third scheduled for June 11-13, 2018. Jara will inherit this problem. Accordingly, we expect Jara to make it a priority to improve labor relations the moment he begins his new job."

UPDATE 12:20 P.M.: The Clark County School District Board of Trustees voted 4-2 to select Jesus Jara as the new superintendent. Garvey voted by phone while Young abstained from the vote. 

RELATED: New Clark County School District superintendent to face number of challenges

Jara is currently deputy superintendent of Orange County (Florida) Public Schools. He is expected to start in June. 

Jara previously said his Orlando-based district is similar to Las Vegas in that both are tourism-focused and have similar populations and challenges.

"When you serve 322,000 thousand students with 40,000 employees, you really the community to buy into what we're doing as an organization," he said. 

Jara has worked at a number of Florida schools in various capacities, including superintendent, chief operations officer, dean of students, assistant principal and athletic trainer. He also worked as a principal and assistant principal in Massachusetts, where he got his doctorate in education. 

Jara is said to have been successful in several projects, such as boosting AP scores for underperforming schools through a collaboration program and beginning a program that offered teachers bonuses to work at underperforming schools.

Some board members argued if an outsider like Jara could begin to fix the district's problem fast enough or if it would take them weeks to learn the ropes.

"We don't have time for someone to learn about our communities," said Trustee Linda Young.

Several principals were in attendance to support Barton, who was ousted by the board by a 4-3 vote.

Members who were in favor of Jara urged the community to give the new superintendent a chance.

"Frankly, I think the district needs to have some change," said Trustee Carolyn Edwards.

 

ORIGINAL STORY

 

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- The Clark County School District Board of Trustees is expected to name the top superintendent candidate on Wednesday. 

RELATED: Here's what you need to know about the CCSD superintendent candidates

While public comment seemed to favor candidate Mike Barton, currently the chief academic officer at CCSD, the board voted 4-3 to not hire him as superintendent. 

Following the vote, Trustee Carolyn Edwards, who voted against Barton, said her vote is for Jesus Jara, currently the deputy superintendent of Orange County (Florida) Public Schools. 

But then Trustee Linda Young said the board isn't listening to the people and it would take years for an outside candidate to learn the district. 

Young later said she felt "very disrespected by board" and doesn't want to vote Wednesday. She would like to spend two days with each candidate, visiting their hometowns. 

Trustees Kevin Child and Chris Garvey agreed with Young and said they want to take more time if considering outside candidates. 

But Trustee Lola Brooks questioned that idea. She asked, "What have you been doing that you haven't been able to get a good feel of these candidates?" Each candidate has gone through two interviews with trustees and public interviews. 

Brooks also asked whether board members had a contingency plan if their top pick wasn't supported and urged for a vote Wednesday. Meanwhile, Young said her community didn't want anyone but Barton.

Child noted that if they were to move forward with a vote, how would the new superintendent feel starting the position on a 4-3 vote? 

Garvey had to leave the meeting due to work and had asked for the meeting to recess until 6 p.m. Wednesday. No decision had been made on the recess so at this time, Garvey will join by phone. 

The remaining candidates include: 

  • Jesse Welsh, CCSD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Development: Welsh says he's also ready to hit the ground running, especially tackling budget issues. "You know we're literally one car repair away from being in crisis, so those are some of the things we've got to solve."
  • Eva White, former CCSD Interim Chief Financial Officer: White is currently retired in Minnesota but is hungry to return to CCSD to combine her knowledge of budget and operations. "I'm probably the person who can bring I know to show that we can work together."
  • Doug Haddad, Superintendent of St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, Colorado: Haddad's district is smaller CCSD, but he says after managing his own district, he's ready for the challenge of a larger market. "You have to ask yourself do you have the energy, the enthusiasm, the compassion to do it, and I absolutely do."
  • Jesus Jara, Deputy Superintendent, Orange County (Florida) Public Schools: Jara says his Orlando-based district is similar to Las Vegas in that both are tourism-focused and have similar populations and challenges, and says that's why he's the best fit. "When you serve 322,000 thousand students with 40,000 employees, you really the community to buy into what we're doing as an organization."
  • Shonda Hardman, Consultant/Urban Specialist, Franklin Covey: Hardman is currently in the private sector, but says she works on leadership skills and has experience working in urban school districts around the country. "It's about our little people, it's about our big people, and so we have to make sure we keep this job focused on people."
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