NYSSA — Several applications have been received to be the next superintendent of the Nyssa School District and interviews will be conducted between the Nyssa School Board and applicants on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The district opened up the position for applications on Jan. 18 on the heels of Superintendent Jana Iverson announcing in November of 2018 that her final day with the district would be June 30.
As of yet, there haven’t been any applicants from within the school district, Iverson said during a phone interview on Wednesday afternoon.
The interviews will be private and will be between board members and applicants, Iverson said, adding that there may be a few community members who sit in on the interviews, but who do not participate.
The district is also seeking a new principal for its high school, as the school board just accepted Malcolm McRae’s resignation, effective at the end of the school year. McRae has been principal at Nyssa High School since he was hired in July of 2017.
The district has started advertising for McRae’s position, Iverson said, adding that she has told staff she doesn’t think she should be part of making that decision. Rather, she’d like to see the new superintendent be part of that, as the two new hires would be working together.
“We’ll be ready and prepped with applications and he or she will be part of interviews,” Iverson said.
Iverson took a moment to address comments McRae made this week to the Argus about things he’d like to see “endure for the betterment of student outcomes,” which included integrating alt-ed students into the main building at the high school and an improved professional culture with licensed and classified staff.
Iverson said that a change the district made in the fall of 2018 for those alt-ed students, that McRae was in favor of, was getting them moved back to the high school, as they had previously been in a separate building.
“They didn’t interact, and the problem was they weren’t getting well-rounded opportunities,” Iverson said, included classes such as physical education and arts.
Having moved back into the high school after being housed in the district office, those students can still do credit recovery and can participate in other educational opportunities.
Iverson indicated that move is what put the strain on the professional culture among staff.
“Part of the problem was some teachers didn’t like it,” she said, adding that she hadn’t heard any complaints recently.
“At first there was a bit of kickback,” Iverson said.
This was likely due to the fact that alt-ed students were previously associated with students who were problematic. However, that is no longer the case, she said.
“They’re not here because of behavior, they just need a different setting or pace,” she said.
McRae was a champion for equity for the students, Iverson said, adding that he didn’t feel the previous situation was equitable.
“I agree and was thrilled that he wanted that and wants it to continue,” Iverson said.
She said McRae has brought new ideas to the table and different ways of thinking.
“We appreciate the work he did here. … He’ll do good wherever he goes.”
As for what’s next for Iverson, she said she’s not certain at this time.
“I’m just kind of putting myself out for jobs over in Idaho,” she said. “I’ve also toyed with not working at all.”