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School board seeking regional applicants; Superintendent search will focus on neighboring Southwest states

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The Roswell Independent School District school board has decided to hire regionally, seeking applicants for a superintendent from the neighboring states of Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Texas and Oklahoma.

School board member Kathleen Pittman said having a superintendent from the surrounding region is positive because they will “know what life is like here.”

Board member Ruben Sanchez said it’s important to have a future superintendent that understands the diverse local culture of Roswell, and that the application information will portray Roswell as a positive place.

The applicant process will be advertised by the beginning of January and the deadline for applications is Feb. 16, the school board decided at a special meeting Tuesday.

All applications must be submitted electronically for convenience. The minimum requirements decided by the board are a master’s degree, with a doctorate preferred, and principal experience, with three to five years of teaching experience.

“You have to be able to run a building before you can run a district,” said board member Alan Gedde.

The salary range in consideration is $130,000 to $160,000, with a benefits package to be determined. This information will be solidified when the advertisement is released, board members said.

In March, five candidates will be chosen to interview with the board and an advisory committee comprised of teachers, administrative staff and community leaders in April. The goal is to hire a new superintendent on April 16.

Susan Sanchez, the current interim superintendent of RISD, plans to be an applicant for the superintendent’s position. Her current salary as interim superintendent is $150,000.

A Roswell native and 1984 Roswell High School graduate, Susan Sanchez has been a public school teacher and a school and district administrator for 26 years, mostly in the Roswell area. She served once before as RISD interim superintendent for a brief time in 2012 before former superintendent Burris was hired in July 2012.

Burris resigned in February, just nine days after school board elections, citing his eligibility for retirement and his desire to spend more time with his children.

Burris had more than a year left on his three-year contract and was on paid administrative leave in February until his effective resignation date of June 30. Burris was paid $149,907 a year as the top administrator of the district with about 10,300 students, 21 schools and 1,200 employees, including 600 licensed personnel.

“This is a big job and the applicants will need to bring their very best game plan,” said Gloria Rendón, an educational consultant who is assisting with the hiring process.

City reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.