COTTONWOOD - Mingus Union School Board President James Ledbetter told the board Thursday night that Dr. Paul Tighe was the top choice by every group involved in the selection process for a new superintendent to replace Tim Foist.
Ledbetter said Tighe became the overwhelming favorite among the finalists with the school board, the teachers, the staff and the community.
"Dr. Tighe's attitude during negotiations was extraordinary," Ledbetter said.
"We have an innovative contract," Ledbetter explained.
He said that Tighe has accepted the superintendent's contract at 80 percent, and he has agreed to work a minimum of 35 hours per week.
Tighe also has the right to renegotiate his contract if the position eventually requires him to be the administrator for more than one district.
In a phone interview Friday morning, Tighe said he was well aware that Mingus Union and Cottonwood-Oak Creek districts have been in discussions for more than a year regarding shared services, including possible joint administration positions.
"That was part of our discussion," Tighe said. "It would be a significant change in the scope of the position."
But he said he would be willing to take on the expanded responsibility.
"Absolutely," he said, "I'm used to 5,400 kids in my district. It would be smaller, but it wouldn't be a problem for me."
Tighe is currently assistant superintendent of Littleton Elementary School District with 5,400 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The district is in Avondale and employees more than 500 people. He has served in that administrative position since 2008.
Before that, he was principal in the Dysart Unified School District in Surprise for seven years.
He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Vermont, and he earned his doctorate in educational administration and supervision from Arizona State University.
Ledbetter told the board that Tighe has family members in the community.
"My folks live on 12th Street," Tighe said
He also has a daughter who is a freshman at Northern Arizona University.
The MUHS Governing Board met in special session Thursday night in the high school cafeteria to officially offer a contract to Tighe to become the next superintendent.
The school district received 11 applications for the position. Those applications were screened down to five finalists.
The finalists took part in a rigorous two-day interview process on April 11 and 12.
Besides Tighe, finalists were Marilinda Porter of Sanders, Steve Savoy of Peoria and two from Yavapai County: Dr. Kristen Rex, superintendent of Seligman School District, and Karin Ward, who offered her letter of application to serve as superintendent of both Mingus Union and Beaver Creek School districts.