The Clark County School District announced its new superintendent.
The Board of Trustees voted Dr. Jesus Jara as the new superintendent Wednesday.
Jesus Jara has been the deputy superintendent for Orange County Public Schools in Orlando since 2012. Before taking that role, he was superintendent at Monroe County Public Schools, also in Florida. At the time, the Orlando Sentinel reported Jara had clashed with unions in Monroe County over raises and furloughs.
Jara released the following statement: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. "Mr. Jara came to this country as an immigrant at 10 years old," Jara support, Jose Solorio said. "Then he moved to bilingual science teacher." Solorio is a former CCSD school board member.
Even though Jara will likely be the next CCSD superintendent, his start out might be a little rocky, especially since the school board was split on his election.
"Fight for the students!," Trustee Linda Young said. "You are splitting this community up into those that have, and those that have not. That's appalling and hurtful."
Young, as well as the majority of people who spoke up in Wednesday's meeting, were in support of Dr. Mike Barton. Barton is the CCSD's chief student achievement officer. During one point, a principal asked all principals in the district who support Barton to stand, and nearly two dozen people rose from their seats.
Yvette Williams, the chair of the Clark County black caucus was also in support of Barton.
"We were on board with Barton for one specific reason," she said. "We care who is going to be our superintendent and who will care for our children."
Barton was the first nominee to be put to a vote and was defeated in a 4 to 3 vote. Following the vote, trustees began arguing, with some like Trustee Young saying they refused to vote until they had more time. Young's delay tactics did not sit well with Trustee Lola Brooks.
"I'm just wondering what you did between meeting the candidates and now? And what you did since you don't have a good feeling of these candidates," she said.
For another two hours there was more back and forth, until Vice President of the board Carolyn Edwards chimed in and asked them to vote on Jesus Jara. Jara won, and Edwards said she hoped people give him a fair shot.
"Our board is very passionate," Edwards said with a smile. "But now its time to come together and welcome him and move student achievement forward."
The goal was for Jara to be here before the end of June so he can have some time with departing superintendent Pat Skorkowsky. Before he gets here, the board said there will be a lot of negotiations.
Six finalists were considered for the position including three internal candidates: Dr. Mike Barton, Dr. Jesse Welsh, and Dr. Eva White as well as three external; candidates: Donald Haddad, Shonda Huery Hardman, and Jesus Jara. Barton is the current chief academic officer for CCSD, Haddad is the superintendent for the St. Vrain Valley Schools in Colorado, Hardman is a coach, consultant and urban specialist for FranklinCovey, Welsh is the currently the associate superintendent at CCSD, and White is the director of human resources and administrative services at Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools.
Before opening the search for internal candidates, the board said they received 77 applications. All of the candidates were publicly interviewed April 27.
The trustees said they hope the candidate can begin in June when the current superintendent Pat Skorkowsky retires.
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