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Montezuma-Cortez school board announces finalists for superintendent job

Interviews and meet-and-greet scheduled for this month

The Montezuma-Cortez Board of Education has narrowed its search to replace longtime Superintendent Lori Haukeness to two candidates.

With Haukeness set to retire at the end of the school year, the board intends to make its final selection by May 3. According to a news release, the candidates are Risha VanderWey, of Flagstaff, and Joseph Aldridge, of Sonora, California.

VanderWey has more that 20 years of experience as an educator, including seven years as a superintendent. She most recently was superintendent of majority-Navajo Tuba City Unified School District in Arizona. VanderWey also served as superintendent of Coconino County schools for five years.

“I excel at collaborative consensus building, establishing positive culture and climates, creating and implementing school improvement plans driven by data, mentoring and coaching teachers and administration, and adhering to district policies and procedures,” VanderWey said in a prepared statement.

Aldridge has 19 years of experience in education. He spent the past four years as superintendent of Columbia Union School District in Tuolumne County, California.

“Relationships are at the core of my work,” Aldridge stated. “I am adept at working with all stakeholders to ensure that their voices are heard. I have earned the trust of my community through open and honest communication paired with follow-through on commitments.”

“I have always focused on the ultimate outcome of education: successful employment,” he said.

Interviews will be conducted the week of April 26. The school board will select participants for interview committees from parents, community members, teachers and district staff.

A community meet-and-greet is scheduled for April 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Montezuma-Cortez High School commons.

anicotera @the-journal.com

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