Canutillo trustees discuss superintendent hiring process with search firm

CANUTILLO, Texas - Wednesday night Proact vice president Robert Stockwell presented the Canutillo Independent School District Board of Trustees with a proposed search process for a new superintendent. 

School Board President Armando Rodriguez said the district hopes to have a candidate in place by the end of the school year.   

The board instructed Stockwell to draft a hiring timeline by Friday. 

The meeting comes one day after Trustees approved a $18,500 contract with search firm, Proact, to conduct a superintendent search.       

Board president Armando Rodriguez said he had been working with the district's legal council on negotiations with Proact since last week. 

At a Dec. 27 board meeting, trustees voted to request proposals from search firms that would undertake the superintendent search for under $50,000.

Rodriguez said while the district vetted several possible firms, "We felt Proact was the best one since they are doing the search for other districts and they already have a data base of people who want to come to El Paso."

The Socorro Independent School District hired the Wilmette, Ill., headquartered firm to conduct a superintendent search and Stockwell confirmed he's still in the process of placing a superintendent with the El Paso Independent School District.

Stockwell said the EPISD and CISD superintendent searches will not conflict.

"The short answer is -- it will be a unique set of candidates, a set of candidates that have expressed interest in Canutillo," said Stockwell. "When we go through the process of marketing and recruiting, people will have to apply for the position."

At Canutillo, Proact will find a candidate to fill the void left by former CISD Superintendent Doctor Damon Murphy. 

During a Dec. 18 board meeting that lasted into the early morning hours, trustees voted to buy out Murphy's contract with the district, after an audit investigation tied him to possible attempts to cheat on state and federal accountability measures.

 "Canutillo was doing great things before Dr. Murphy got here, and were gonna continue to do great things and we need a leader to help move us in that direction," said Rodriguez.  

While the district waits for a permanent replacement for Murphy, Annette Brigham is serving as interim superintendent. 

Brigham's served the Canutillo school district for 25 years and was serving as associate superintendent when she was appointed her to interim super late last month.

Rodriguez said Brigham will not be considered for the position of permanent superintendent, because the district does not want to deter candidates who may view her current position as an unfair advantage. 

Rodriguez maintained the board is eager to move the district forward, but would like to initiate a conversation about testing with the U.S. Department of Education. 

"Several students from out of country have to take test within one year and we feel that's not best practice so we want to research it," said Rodriguez. "If you look at teacher certification imagine that their freshman year of college or trying to go learn a different language, if you were to take a test one year into learning it, how can you really excel? And is that the best thing to do for kids? We want to have that communication with the department of Education."

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