SIERRA VISTA — Sierra Vista Unified School District board members approved a consulting firm to lead its search for a new superintendent at Tuesday’s board meeting, and introduced the district’s new public information officer and heard a presentation from a group of Buena High School students who visited Radebeul, Germany through Sister Cities.

In an effort to move forward with its search for a new superintendent, the school district will be soliciting the services of a consultant firm. SVUSD Superintendent Kelly Glass submitted her resignation last November and will be leaving the district June 30, at the end of the school year.

Governing board president Barbara Williams informed the board that she had requested bids from three consultant firms and received responses from two of them.

“I requested bids from the ASBA (Arizona School Boards Association) and two national firms,” said Williams, with ASBA and McPherson & Jacobson, LLC, as the two respondents. ASBA’s bid came in at a set rate of $10,000, while the McPherson & Jacobson bid was $17,000, with a possibility of costing the district more.

Board members voted to go with ASBA because the district is an ASBA member and has a good working relationship with the organization. In addition, Williams said the search capabilities of both organizations appeared to be equal, both conduct national searches, and that ASBA did not indicate a “higher cost possibility” associated with its bid.

The board approved a minimum wage increase for support staff in order to comply with a state statute increase effective January 2020. The increase affects 38 district employees.

Two Buena High School math classes will be receiving services provided by K-12 Elevate, a live-streaming program that provides students with math support. The board approved a contract with Elevate, hoping the program gives students the additional boost they need to succeed as they advance through math courses.

Assistant Superintendent Kelly Segal said the program is similar to Facetime.

“The contract is for the end of the school year,” said Segal, who added that the district needs to “think out of the box when it comes to hiring.”

Board member Hollie Sheriff agreed, noting that teacher shortages are hitting schools across the state, with Elevate being used by these schools.

“I’m really anxious to see this program,” Segal said. “When you talk about what we need to do to help our kids, this program is well worth the expense.”

Jacob Martinez was introduced as the district’s new public information officer, replacing Rebecca Bentz, who resigned in December. Martinez started with the district on Jan. 2, and addressed the board briefly at the start of Tuesday’s meeting. He comes to Sierra Vista from Texas and has been in the community for nearly five years.

“I’m here to support the work of our teachers and tell their stories,” said Martinez, who was hired by Glass.

Eight Buena High School students visited Radebeul, Germany, from Oct. 4 through Oct. 18 for a student exchange. Seven of those students gave a presentation about their experiences. The Sister Cities program is a nonprofit organization, with the student trip to Germany paid through fundraisers. Students are teamed up with German host families where they experience the country’s historic sites, culture, school system, restaurants and much more.

The student presenters were Angel Lopez, Kaitlin Elina Swiney, Zachary Swiney, McKenna Heck, Kaylei Clark, Carrie Phillips and Joanna Yoder. Along with the students from Buena, eight students from Cananea, Sonora, Mexico — Sierra Vista’s Sister City south of the border — also traveled to Germany as part of the group. In mid-April, 16 students from Radebeul, Germany will be coming to Sierra Vista to experience this area and Cananea.

The next SVUSD board meeting is Jan. 21, at the district office, 3305 E. Fry Boulevard.

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