Texas district may move to keep TUSD's current pick for superintendent

Monday meeting will determine if it will compete for TUSD pick
2013-06-23T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T08:48:43Z Texas district may move to keep TUSD's current pick for superintendentAlexis Huicochea Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

TUSD's newly appointed superintendent may spur a tug-of-war between Tucson and Texas.

The Ector County Independent School District in Odessa, Texas, has a meeting Monday in which H.T. Sanchez, its interim leader, could be named its "finalist" for the open superintendent post there.

Sanchez has served as interim superintendent in Odessa for the last three months, but on Tuesday he accepted an offer to lead Tucson Unified School District.

During Sanchez's interim tenure, the Odessa-area district did not advertise the superintendent position, and serious talk of a national search didn't begin until Sanchez was publicly named sole finalist for the TUSD post.

Sanchez is not legally bound to TUSD because he has not signed a contract.

TUSD is set to discuss a contract with Sanchez when the board meets Tuesday. The discussion will be behind closed doors.

Ector County's special meeting to discuss its superintendent search will happen the day before that. It is possible, said Doyle Woodall, a trustee for the Texas district, that some board members might move to keep Sanchez.

While it is unknown whether the Ector County board will offer Sanchez a job, the 38-year-old says he's not in a frame of mind to stay put.

Sanchez is working with a real-estate agent to find a home in Tucson and has been using personal time to make calls and learn more about TUSD.

"My focus is on Tucson and on the work that's there in Tucson," he said. "If it's put forward, it's a great honor, but I'm the superintendent in Tucson and that's where I sit."

Woodall and at least two of his fellow Ector County school district trustees, Steve Brown and Donna Smith, have said they would not support naming Sanchez the sole finalist.

"I'm a newly elected trustee, and I promised the people that we would do a nationwide superintendent search," Woodall said. "I don't give my word and back off on it.

"We need to do the national search and if he is a finalist, great, but we need to look."

Brown acknowledged that naming Sanchez as the sole finalist for superintendent may have been considered a week ago, but said at this time, it's not his intention to do so.

"Dr. Sanchez has made up his mind, and I think we have to honor that," Brown said.

Ector board President Ray Beaty would not say whether he had any intentions of trying to snag Sanchez back, only saying "all options are open to take a look at."

Trustee Teri Ervin had no comment. Board member Luis Galvan could not be reached by phone Friday.

Board member Nelson Minyard openly said he would support offering Sanchez the top post permanently.

"If I had a chance to keep H.T., I probably would," Minyard said. "I don't think that's going to happen. I believe he'll head for Tucson and he'll make a great superintendent."

Did you know?

If H.T. Sanchez were to stay in Texas, the search firm hired by TUSD would conduct another search for the district free of charge.

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at ahuicochea@azstarnet.com or 573-4175. On Twitter @AlexisHuicochea

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