Search for new director tops governing council agenda

Prior to Moreno Valley High School’s Governing Council meeting Wednesday, March 1, council members have planned a 4:30 p.m. “tentative work session” between members and an advisory committee tagged with the search for a permanent director.

During the Feb. 15 governing council meeting, Rogers Lanon announced that interim director Dan Salzwedal had resigned Feb. 6. Salzwedal, who came on board Jan. 1, replaced Greg Vincent who left at the end of the fall 2016 semester. At press time, Salzwedal was continuing as a consultant in the search for a new director.

Soon after the meeting convened, governing council members went into executive session then emerged to announce the appointment of a new interim director from among their ranks.

Lanon told meeting attendees the person they chose had administrative experience and was certified and licensed in New Mexico. He added, “She moved to Angel Fire because of this school.”

When he announced the new interim director was recently appointed member Tammy Dunn, many people clapped. “It’s very nice that she’s stepped up to do this,” Lanon said.

The governing council then unanimously voted on Dunn’s appointment. Dunn has resigned her position on the council.

Opening the door to discussion

Lanon was conducting the meeting in place of President Tammy DeVine who, while present, had laryngitis. At the meeting’s start he looked out at the unusually large group in the audience and quipped, “Do you want to let these people speak so we don’t get lynched this time?”

He was referencing the council’s previous meeting in which public comment was not on the agenda. At this meeting the council entertained multiple questions from the audience while conducting its business, many of which centered on the search for a new director.

Carl Nelson, Moreno Valley Education Foundation President, stressed to council the “importance of not rushing the process.”

Moreno Valley High School has a $4,000 contract with Salzwedal to help find a new director, to which Nelson said, “I want my money back. We were misled. We hired somebody who wasn’t qualified from the day he set foot on campus.”

“You’re right. We were misled,” Jason Grisham replied, noting the governing council had replied on a headhunter to find a qualified applicant rather than carefully checking Salzwedal’s qualifications themselves.

“I can guarantee you that there’s not a person on this panel who won’t be doing this in the future,”Grisham added.

During the back-and-forth that followed, it came out that Salzwedal was the fifth director in six years

Grisham acknowledged, “[The council] would much rather come here and take care of the kids. The last six months have been catastrophe, after catastrophe, after catastrophe.”

After a woman in the audience said, “I just don’t think there’s good communication,” Grisham said, “This is a blessing for us [to see so many people at the meeting]. We need parents to get involved. You guys coming to these meetings is very important.”

Nelson said, “Thank you for this Q&A. We appreciate it. I’m still concerned about going forward with our search [for a new director]. I’m wondering why it’s still a good idea for us to have a relationship with [Salzwedal].”

Grisham said, “His main goal is to take applications, run background checks and share the facts with us.”

Nelson urged governing council members to keep the hiring process open. “If you guys go and hire somebody without the search committee, staff… who knows what the community is going to do.”

Lanon reminded attendees, “With Tammy stepping down, we do have  couple of positions open.”

The governing council meets at 5:15 p.m. tomorrow. One agenda item is the appointment of Ed McCracken to the governing council. 

Both the work session and the meeting are at the school’s Gathering Hall.

MVHS Governing Council Meeting Agenda 3-1-17