The two internal candidates vying to become Tempe Union High School District’s next superintendent are longtime educators with records of service to the district.
The governing board earlier this month said Associate Superintendent Kevin J. Mendivil and Assistant Superintendent Anna Battle are the only two of five top district administrators who indicated an interest in replacing Superintendent Kenneth Baca, who has made his resignation effective next June 30.
The board has indicated a preference to look inside for his successor and hopes to name either Battle or Mendivil at a meeting Sept. 13. However, board members said if they cannot agree on either candidate, they will extend their search and possibly look outside the district.
Not in the board’s plan is general public outreach to see what parents, community leaders and other people in the district might want in Tempe Union’s next leader.
Gilbert Public Schools board is currently looking for a new superintendent and attracted more than 5,000 respondents to an online survey it launched as part of its search.
But board President DeeAnne McClenahan and some of her colleagues said at several meetings that all board members speak with the public often and that there were internal administrators whose qualifications made them worth considering first.
The board also outlined a process for considering Mendivil and Battle that included updated resumes and three letters of reference and an interview by a former district solicitor who will then report to the board in a closed-door meeting.
At a closed-door meeting Sept. 6, the board will develop its own interview questions for the two candidates and develop some additional topics they will be asked to write about.
AFN asked to conduct a limited interview with the two candidates, but district spokeswoman Jennifer Liewer said, “It wouldn’t be appropriate for the candidates to answer your questions prior to conducting their interviews with the board.”
The board will interview Battle and Mendivil in a closed-door session Sept. 13 prior to announcing its decision.
Mendivil joined the district in 2011 as assistant superintendent for human resources until he attained his current post three years later. He oversees human resources and benefits as well as community relations.
As assistant superintendent for human resources he was responsible for a range of employee-related matters from recruitment to mediation to evaluating performance.
Before coming to Tempe Union, Mendivil was the director of human resources-certified personnel at Mesa Public Schools, in charge of employee issues related to teachers and other certified staffers.
An Arizona School Boards Association biography says Mendivil “has an advanced knowledge of academia, student needs, key issues in education and employee relations from his background beginning as a special education teacher, later becoming principal of an elementary school.”
He obtained his bachelor of education in special education degree from Arizona State in 1986, his master’s in 1996 from the University of Phoenix and his doctorate from ASU in 2008.
Battle is the former principal of Desert Vista High School and the mother of four children. She has been with the district for more than 20 years, starting as a teacher for six years.
As assistant superintendent for district operations, she oversees transportation, athletics, student affairs and safety and the operation of the district’s physical facilities.
Earlier this year, she was one of three finalists for the job of executive director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association. She is vice president of the AIA board.
“As collegiate athlete at Arizona State University and then a teacher and coach of high school students for a myriad school sports, Dr. Battle takes every opportunity to teach teachers and administrators effective strategies to improve academic, athletic and leadership skills to high school students and other adults in secondary schools,” the Arizona Alliance of Black School Educators says in a biography.
She obtained her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from ASU.
“She has taught administration, leadership, and principalship courses for universities in Arizona,” the alliance added, noting Battle was honored by the National AdvancED Council for her leadership at Desert Vista.
She also received the AIA Pursuing Victory with Honor Award in 2013 and the NAACP Education Image Award, and has authored a book and co-authored another.