Clovis Schools superintendent opening draws 27 applicants

By Liliana Castillo:CNJ staff writer

Twenty-seven people from as far away as Delaware have applied to be superintendent of Clovis schools.

The job posting closed at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm announced Jan. 13 she would leave at the end of the school year.

The list includes locals such as Deputy Superintendent of Operation Joel Shirley, Texico Schools Superintendent R.L. Richards, Tucumcari teacher Lisha Hill and Tucumcari Schools Special Programs Director Sharon Holmes.

Clovis School Board President Lora Harlan said the board is excited about the number of candidates.

“We hope that with in that group we can find the person that is best for Clovis,” Harlan said.

Harlan said the board will spend the next week to 10 days going through applications and meeting with G.C. Ross about what qualifications community members want in a new superintendent. Ross was hired by the board to help with the hiring process.

Harlan said 27 is a higher number of candidates than applied five years ago when the board last hired a superintendent.

The board plans to announce finalists and schedule interviews by March 12.

Shirley said he believes he can provide a smooth transition for the district.

“I have been here long enough to understand some of the challenges. I feel like I’ve got a good handle on not only the finances but the tremendous changes in infrastructure that’s happening in the area and keeping up with High Schools That Work. I feel like I’m up to speed in a variety of those areas. I felt like I was a good in-house candidate,” Shirley said.

High Schools That Work is school improvement initiative implemented at Clovis High School last year.

Hill, who has been a teacher at Tucumcari for 10 years, said she would enjoy working in Clovis.

“I feel like it would be a great opportunity and a great place to work. I feel that I could provide a great contribution and I’ll be enthusiastic,” Hill said.

Holmes could not be reached. Richards did not immediately return phone calls.

The board plans to interview finalists between March 22 and 26 and to announce the name of the new superintendent March 31.

The list of applicants for the Clovis Municipal Schools superintendent position:

Names, current or last position held, location

• Luis Angel Melendez, Sussex Technical High School, JROTC Instructor, Georgetown, Del.

• Raymond Robert Arsenault, Gallup McKinley Schools, superintendent, Albuquerque

• Kristina G. Baca, Lordsburg Municipal Schools, elementary principal, Lordsburg, N.M.

• Raymunda Cocoba, Early Childhood and Special Education, Manila, Philippines

• Melvin M. Valdez, Taos CAV Elementary Schools and Headstart, elementary educator, Taos County

• R.L. Richards, Texico Schools superintendent, Texico

• Gorman Swinney, Mescalero Apache Schools superintendent, Peralta.

• Earl Pettit, Douglas Unified School District superintendent, Douglas, Ariz.

• Loretta DeLong, Vista Grande High School director/principal, Taos

• Dan Webb, Santa Fe Schools, secondary principal, Rio Rancho

• Joel Shirley, Clovis Municipal Schools deputy superintendent of operations, Clovis

• Thomas Martin, Texas Tech University, research assistant, Lubbock

• Sharon Holmes, Tucumcari Public Schools special programs director, Tucumcari

• Leslie Kilmer, Alamogordo Public Schools principal, Alamogordo

• Clippert Connin, Jefferson County Public Schools teacher, Louisville, Ky.

• Karen Larsen, White Pass Schools principal, Randle, Wash.

• Thomas Lewis, , Maxwell Municipal Schools principal, Maxwell

• Lisha Hill, Tucumcari Municipal Schools teacher, Tucumcari,

• Mark Kemp, Region XIII education specialist, Austin, Texas

• Patricia Miller, Fort Sumner Municipal Schools superintendent, Fort Sumner

• Andrew Sweet, Roswell High School principal, Roswell

• Benjamin Garcia, Fremont County Joint School District, director of special services, Saint Anthony, Idaho

• LaTonya Dawson, Nevada Early Intervention developmental specialist III, Las Vegas, Nev.

• Gail Massello, Mohawk Valley Community College teacher, Rome, N.Y.

• Mary Ruth Reeve, Gallup McKinley County Schools special education director, Gallup

• Robert Wenzel Gross, Dibe Yazhi Habitiin Olta, Borrego Pass Day School executive director, Crownpoint

• James Dale Fitch, Hatch Valley Public Schools high school principal, Hatch