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Browder a finalist for superintendent position in Nevada

By Staff | Sep 18, 2010

School Superintendent James Browder is one of three finalists to be considered for the superintendent post in Clark County, Nevada, which is the nation’s fifth largest school district.
The other two candidates are Colorado Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones and the Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa.
The Clark County School District, located in Las Vegas, has more than 300,000 students, 340 schools and approximately 38,000 employees.
“This opportunity would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of the teachers, administrators, support staff and school board of Lee County,” Browder said in a prepared statement.
Chairman Steven Teuber said although he is not surprised, he is very impressed and pleased that Browder is among one of the top three finalist.
“Jim is one of the best superintendents in the country,” he said, adding that the Las Vegas position is one of the most highly profiled superintendent positions in the country.
Teuber said Browder has been successful in running the school district because he has a vision.
“This district was never about Jim Browder,” Teuber said. “It was about Jim Browder understanding the district, and what it takes to make the district prosper.”
Board member Jeanne Dozier said she was not surprised by the news, either.
“It doesn’t surprise me because Jim basically has been a good superintendent,” Dozier said. “We have definitely moved forward.”
Board member Jane Kuckel said her first reaction to the news was that it will be a “real sad day for the Lee County School District and the community if Browder is chosen for the position” because he brought “leadership style and accomplishments” to the district.
“He has a success track record as long as your arm,” she said, adding that he is “very well respected and liked in the community.”
Kuckel said she has been in education for 45 years and out of all those years, Browder has been the “best superintendent I have ever worked with, for and around.”
” I am sad to see him go if that is what he decides to do,” she said.
Kuckel said if Browder is chosen for the job, it will be Clark County District’s gain and Lee County’s loss.
“It will be very fortunate for them to get him and our loss,” she said.
Don Armstrong, who will join the board in November, said his initial reaction was that he was disappointed that Browder did not contact him or his fellow board members first.
“I wish him all the best of luck if he decides to go,” Armstrong said. “I am disappointed I didn’t have the chance to work with him but understand if he needs to go, he needs to go.”
He said if Browder is chosen for the job and decides to leave, it will be a good fresh start for the district.
“With three new board members, I think it will be great to have a fresh start with a new superintendent,” Armstrong said.
Since Browder became the superintendent, Teuber said the school district has progressed every year.
“This school district saw continued success year after year… every category and indicator had an improvement every year,” Teuber said because “Browder and the board had a vision.”
Teuber said the Las Vegas school district called and asked him if Browder could have the same success rate in their school district as he had in Lee County, which he replied “absolutely.”
Dozier said the Clark County School District shares a lot of similarities with Lee County, one of which is the high mobility rate. She said the standardized curriculum that Browder implemented here helped the district immensely.
“If he makes the final cut, he will put into place what he had done here there,” she said. “Jim has done a lot of reforming here… a lot towards the student success.
Kuckel said if they have to replace Browder as the superintendent it will be a long, involved conversation with the board. She said Lee County has one of the lowest paid superintendents for the size of the district in the country.
Dozier said if he is accepted for the job, Browder has to give the district a 60-day notice
Kuckel said her choice would be to hire an interim superintendent and then make a decision on a final superintendent.
Dozier said she has been involved in a couple of superintendent searches while sitting on the board.
“You simply set your criteria of what you expect in a superintendent and then you establish how you want to go about it,” she said.
Teuber said he hopes the board relies on the current board’s wisdom and experience if a new superintendent has to be hired.
“It is going to be a real bad thing for the community, business and the kids if they don’t get a good superintendent to replace him,” he said.
Armstrong said he is up to the task if a new superintendent needs to be hired. He said he hopes the board will start interviewing people almost immediately to replace him.
“If we have to go nationwide that’s fine,” he said, adding that he would prefer to look within the school district and the county before they begin looking for candidates outside of the state.
Teuber said it has been proven with previous superintendent picks that it is difficult position to fill.
“If they don’t understand the history of Lee County it becomes an issue,” he said.
Kuckel said it will be a very steep learning curve if a new superintendent comes into the district.
“It will take that person a year to become familiar with all aspects of the district,” she said. “It will interrupt the momentum that we have going on at this time.”