Two for Two<br><i>New administrators at valley schools</i>

File photo

Brad Madison is the new assistant principal at Mingus Union.

July 1, Kathleen Fleenor assumes her dual role as superintendent/principal for the Clarkdale-Jerome School District. Just down the road, Brad Madison will also begin his job as assistant principal at Mingus Union High School July 1.

Less then two years ago, more than half of rural schools reported a shortage of qualified candidates.

"We were prepared to keep on searching," said Clarkdale-Jerome School Board President Dan Collins upon announcing the district's contract offer Thursday night. "It's just a relief that we found someone after our first go-through.

The elementary district even came close to stealing Madison away from the Cottonwood high school.

"I was one of two finalists in Clarkdale," explained Madison. "But I called and withdrew because I wanted to take the Mingus job."

A desire to work under the tutelage of Tom McCraley drew the former principal of Williams High School to the Mingus team. "He has a long and distinguished career in education. I thought the learning experience would be valuable to my career," said Madison.

It's a small world: Fleenor also knows McCraley.

"He's up there, too?" the former Yuma principal inquired.

Fleenor and McCraley were professional colleagues during his tenure as a superintendent in the growing desert community.

Both of the new administrators have extensive experience and consider themselves inclusive leaders that put children first.

"I fully expect a one-on-one relationships with all the students," said Madison, who replaces Dean of Students Rex Bergamini. "My goal is to lead and guide them and be a mentor."

The retired Air Force flight instructor, baseball coach and high school vocational teacher promises the district in his letter of interest that, "you will not find a person more dedicated to education, more dedicated to students, and a person more committed to the excellence of the district."

Fleenor, an associate professor for Northern Arizona University and former elementary and high school teacher, is equally motivated to achieve high standards.

"A visionary leader establishes teamwork built on the vision of 21st Century goals and the belief that all students can and must succeed," she stated. "When the focus and steps to obtaining the goals are clear stakeholders in the district, staff, governing board members and students are all empowered to achieve success. Your educational leader must motivate and empower others."

Fleenor replaces William Kelly who retired this year from his position as superintendent/principal for Clarkdale-Jerome School District.

And Kelly is just one of many who make up the "graying of school administration."

According to a study by Educational Research service, more than 40 percent of public school principals will retire over the next 10 years, an indication, say experts, that in the future the demand for school administrators will only increase.

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