More than 30 high school students and five faculty members of Patagonia Union High School attended a special joint board meeting on Feb. 24 to give input on the selection of the next superintendent for the school district. 

Kenny Hayes has been filling in as interim Superintendent during Superintendent Rachell Hochheim’s maternity leave this fall, in addition to his position as Assistant Principal. 

In the call to public, Chesed Chap, the Vice President of the Student Council and Hannah Woodard, a junior, both requested that the board consider doing an internal search, stating their reasons why they believed that Hayes is the best candidate for the job. Woodard read a letter she had written that had been signed by many students, declaring that they would be “exhilarated if Mr. Hayes would become our next Superintendent.” 

Michael Young and Nate Porter, faculty members, said that they support and endorse an internal search, as well. Young said, “the hardest part about being in Patagonia is instability because of teachers leaving and we want to keep the consistency.” Porter said, “teachers will be renewing their contracts soon and they want to know who will be the next superintendent. You have a great candidate on hand.” 

After the call to public, the PUHS board president Ron Pitt shared the results of an anonymous internal survey given to all PUHS and PES staff and teachers asking them their preference between an internal search for the next superintendent or a wider search. There was only one respondent who chose the option of a wider search. 

A majority of the PUHS and PES board then voted to do an internal search for the new superintendent, limited to PUHS and PES current employees. 

The board put out the call for the position on Feb. 25 and expect to receive letters of interest from qualified candidates by March 2. A study session to review the Superintendent’s contract and the shared service agreement between the two boards was held on Feb. 26. 

In the current shared services agreement, the PES board does not have a say in the hiring and evaluation of the Superintendent. The PES Board would like to change the agreement so that they would have more say in the decision-making for hiring and evaluating the superintendent. 

Interviews are scheduled for March 9 and a special joint board meeting will take place March 9 at 4:30 p.m. to review the candidates.