Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Shelley Redinger is a finalist for the top public education post in upscale Scottsdale, Arizona.
A headhunter recently contacted her, and she is among three finalists.
“They wanted an innovative risk-taker, and that’s me,” Redinger said Monday from Austin, Texas, where she is speaking at a professional conference.
She cited the need to “do what’s best for our family.”
After a five-hour executive session Thursday, the governing board of the Scottsdale Unified School District chose Redinger and two others out of 29 applicants.
Next up is a series of interviews with Scottsdale stakeholders. The new superintendent would assume control July 1 for retiring superintendent John Kriekard.
“While I’m not eager to leave the Spokane community, I believe the district has great momentum and will continue to do great things if I do move on,” Redinger said.
Redinger has led Spokane Public Schools since summer 2012. She said her husband’s nuclear engineering career is a major factor in any possible move.
“For many years I followed him, that’s why we made a lot of moves early in our careers,” said Redinger, who began as a teacher in Richland. Later they moved to South Carolina, where she earned her doctorate in education while Darin Redinger worked at Westinghouse.
Later, as Shelley Redinger moved into educational administration, her husband’s career followed hers – back in Richland, in Sandy, Oregon, and most recently in Spokane.
Now they’re looking concurrently. “It’s interesting,” said Redinger, who said she is looking at other unspecified positions.
Redinger noted she has kept the Spokane board of directors in the loop during her job search.
The Redingers have one son, a junior at Lewis and Clark High School.
The Scottsdale Unified School District serves Scottsdale, a city of about 270,000 people located northeast of Phoenix, and parts of Phoenix, Tempe and the suburb of Paradise Valley.
With 27,000 students, it’s slightly smaller than Spokane Public Schools’ enrollment of 31,000. Scottsdale includes five comprehensive high schools, six middle schools, three K-8 schools and 16 elementary schools.
The district employs 2,800 people, slightly fewer than Spokane.
The similarities end there. With a per capita income of $51,500 in 2017, Scottsdale is among the most affluent cities in Arizona.
Spokane residents average $31,000 in per capita income. And while 57% of Spokane students receive free and reduced-price meals, only 26% of Scottsdale students do so.
If selected, Redinger would earn about $250,000 annually, based on conversations by Scottsdale school board members during discussions last year.
Redinger’s base salary in 2018-19 was $259,560.
The other finalists are Kimberly Guerin, Scottsdale’s assistant superintendent for educational services, and Scott Menzel, the superintendent of Washtenaw Intermediate School District in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Prior to SUSD, Guerin worked in the Paradise Valley Unified School District as assistant superintendent of elementary education. She has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and a doctorate in education from Northern Arizona University.
Menzel has been superintendent of Washtenaw Intermediate School District since 2011. Intermediate school districts in Michigan serve as coordinating organizations for local districts.
Prior to his appointment at Washtenaw, Menzel served as superintendent of Livingston Education Service Agency and Whitmore Lake Public Schools, both in Michigan.
Menzel has a bachelor’s degree from Vanguard University, a master’s degree from American University and a doctorate in education from Eastern Michigan University.
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