Wed, April 08

C-OC board selects new superintendent
Final interviews conducted in open session Thursday

The Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District Governing Board selected Barbara U'Ren, the district's current assistant superintendent, to become its new superintendent effective July 1.

The board conducted final interviews of U'Ren and one other candidate Thursday night in open session. After the two-hour interview process, the board went into executive session for about one and a half hours. When the board reconvened, a motion was made and seconded to appoint U'Ren as the new superintendent. The vote was unanimous.

Current Superintendent Julie Larson will retire June 30. The board began looking for her replacement during its Oct. 18 meeting.

Although the board included the incoming two board members in the selection and interview process, the current board discussed the candidates in executive session.

U'Ren has lived in the Verde Valley since 1970. She started her career with the district in 1984 as an instructional aide. She has served as teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent.

She holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a minor in library science. Her master's is in educational leadership. U'Ren is currently in a doctoral program specializing in curriculum and instruction with a focus on English Language Learners. Her degrees are from Northern Arizona University.

Her first district job was as special education aide and librarian at Oak Creek School in Cornville from 1984 through 1988. She then became a teacher at the same school from 1989 until 1995.

In 1995 and 1996, she served as assistant principal at Dr. Daniel Bright Elementary School before becoming assistant principal at Cottonwood Elementary School in 1996. She became principal of that school in 1998 and stayed in that position until 2003 when she was made assistant superintendent of the district.

Following the board meeting, Larson said U'Ren will be offered the position immediately. "Then they will negotiate a contract in the spring," she said.

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