Mingus introduces interim superintendent

Tuesday, Mingus Union High School hosted a meet and greet for interim superintendent Eric Harmon, who will replace Dr. Paul Tighe on July 1. Photo by Bill Helm

Tuesday, Mingus Union High School hosted a meet and greet for interim superintendent Eric Harmon, who will replace Dr. Paul Tighe on July 1. Photo by Bill Helm

COTTONWOOD -Hello. Goodbye. Oftentimes, the two salutations go hand in hand.

Thursday, the Mingus Union High School District officially said goodbye to Superintendent Dr. Paul Tighe, as he leaves to become superintendent at Saddle Mountain Unified School District.

Tighe's replacement, former Window Rock High School Principal Eric Harmon, will take over on Friday.

But Tuesday, prior to the 6 p.m. District Governing Board meeting, both Tighe and Harmon met at the school's library with members of the board, as well as the general public. Though the gathering was treated as a meet-and-greet for Harmon, it was also an opportunity for the community to say goodbye - and thank you to Dr. Tighe.

Earlier Tuesday, both principal Jennifer Chilton and Dr. Tighe's assistant Brandi Bateman led Harmon on a tour of the campus, where the interim superintendent said he met with a lot of different people whose opinions he immediately solicited.

"I asked them a lot of questions, to find out the top things on their minds," Harmon said. "Then I scheduled appointments with folks who will be coming out to see me."

Harmon also said one of the things he learned on the tour is that, philosophically, he's "in line" with Chilton.

"For one thing, we talked about problem supervision areas," Harmon said. "There are a lot of nooks and crannies that the students can go. [Chilton] says she likes to change the environment, rather than tell the kids where they cannot go."

Equipped with a five-page resume - and a website dedicated to his goal to become a school district's superintendent, Harmon's mission at Mingus is to "provide high quality educational leadership for current and future students and staff," and "to provide a safe and effective learning environment by ensuring that every classroom has a highly qualified teacher in it that cares about every student every day."

Following the meet and greet, the Mingus Union High School District governing board voted 3-0 to offer Harmon a one-year interim superintendent contract.

The Board has also retained consulting services from Dr. Tighe during the 2016-2017 school year to assist with the leadership transition.

Board president Anita Glazar said she believes that Harmon "will be quite successful" at Mingus.

"We hate to see Paul go," Glazar said. "But I believe Eric's going to be a good fit. He's very passionate about education."

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