Scottsdale Schools Board Hires Dr. John Kriekard as Superintendent; Votes to Spend Bond Funds to Update Fire-damaged Navajo Elementary; Adopts New K-12 Math Curricula
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Feb. 14, 2019) – The Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) Governing Board this week approved a contract naming longtime Valley educator Dr. John Kriekard as SUSD’s Superintendent through June 30, 2020. Kriekard has been serving as the district’s Acting Superintendent since May 2018.
“I am pleased the Governing Board unanimously voted to hire Dr. Kriekard as Superintendent for the 2019-2020 school year,” said Governing Board president Patty Beckman. “Dr. Kriekard’s experience and considerable esteem for SUSD students and community make him the ideal candidate for this role. I believe in his leadership and look forward to our continued relationship.”
Since taking the SUSD helm last spring, Kriekard has overseen thorough reviews of the district’s hiring and procurement practices, initiating changes to strengthen those operations and address public concerns about them. Collaborative efforts by the district’s Human Resources department with certified and classified staff have resulted in updates to employee handbooks that clearly re-establish the district’s commitment to professionalism in the classroom and in the workplace. Kriekard has also been working diligently to re-open lines of communication between the district and SUSD parents, community and staff, and involve them in district initiatives.
Kriekard is a past SUSD principal, assistant principal and assistant superintendent, and most recently served as superintendent of Paradise Valley Unified School District. He came out of retirement last spring to return to SUSD.
“SUSD is my home,” said Kriekard. “It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to continue implementing significant initiatives we have undertaken these past nine months with the Math and Science Academy at Saguaro High School and the Success Initiative in the Coronado Learning Community. I also look forward to overseeing the continued expansion of the district’s International Baccalaureate, Gifted and STEM programs, working with the revitalized Scottsdale Parent Council and helping restore SUSD’s good name. This community deserves the best.”
In other action at its Feb. 12 meeting, the Governing Board approved restoration and renovation work at Navajo Elementary School, 4525 N. Granite Reed Rd., Scottsdale, beyond what will be paid for by the school district’s insurance company. The Navajo campus has been closed since an overnight fire on Aug. 22, 2018, that resulted in extensive damage. The school has been operating out of the former Oak Learning Academy campus, 7501 E. Oak St., three miles away, since then.
The additional $4.26 million in work authorized by the Board includes: the removal of asbestos from the 58-year-old school; the encapsulation of all lead-based paint; the installation of new, more energy-efficient mechanical systems in Navajo’s three classroom buildings; and the installation of improved security measures in a redesigned front office. These additional expenses will come out of 2016 voter-approved bond funds.
The Governing Board also selected four vendors to provide new math curricula for all SUSD students, beginning with the new school year in August 2019. An 80-member committee met over 10 months to identify gaps in the current curricula and develop criteria for new curricula. The panel’s recommendations cover math instruction from kindergarten in elementary school to Trigonometry and pre-Calculus in high school. In making its endorsements, the group took into consideration student and teacher instructional materials, homework assistance resources and online materials for students, professional development offered to teachers, and alignment with Arizona mathematics standards.
“It has been a privilege to work with teachers, administrators, curriculum specialists and parents to review materials and provide a recommendation for the K-12 math adoption,” said Sheryl Rednor, SUSD Executive Director of Teaching and Learning. “We are looking forward to full implementation, including professional development and support for our teachers, so we can continue to teach mathematics with excellence in SUSD.”
The district will use $2.49 million in capital override funds to pay for the new math curricula.
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About the Scottsdale Unified School District
With more than 23,000 students in 29 schools, the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) has been a premier choice for Pre-K through grade 12 public education for more than 120 years. Located northeast of metropolitan Phoenix, the District serves the educational needs of students and families in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, Tempe and Scottsdale. A highly experienced, professionally certified teaching staff fosters a diverse and rigorous educational environment to develop the potential in every individual learner. Offering gifted learning, special education, career and technical education, and a variety of athletics, arts and enrichment programs and clubs, SUSD provides the rich environment today’s students need to explore their interests, develop important social skills and grow into tomorrow’s leaders. For more information, visit www.susd.org and follow along on social media: Facebook: @ScottsdaleUSD, Twitter: @ScottsdaleUSD, Instagram: @ScottsdaleUnifiedSD, Nextdoor, LinkedIn and YouTube.