GIPS school board interviews interim superintendent candidates

Local4 News at 10
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 9:34 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Three candidates answered hours of questions Tuesday night from the Grand Island Public School Board as the district looked to find its interim superintendent.

For the second time in a week, the school board held a special meeting. Tuesday night’s meeting centered around the interviewing of three candidates who are vying to be the interim superintendents. The meeting started at 3 p.m. and carried well into the evening hours.

First up for interviewing was Dr. Virginia Moon, who has served previous stints as interim superintendent for both Omaha Public Schools and Kearney Public Schools. She told the board in her experience, leading a district is best when communication is not only transparent, but in person.

“It’s always better if you can be in a situation where people can ask questions and you can clarify the message because sometimes when it comes out in writing, it can go awry,” Dr. Moon said. “Especially in e-mail. For some reason, we don’t seem to be able to get the tone right in an e-mail.”

After about an hour of questions, the board moved on to its second interview, which was with former Northwest Superintendent Matt Fisher.

Fisher certainly referenced and relied on his time as the Viking superintendent, but one of his first points of emphasis during his interview was to acknowledge a school board that has a first-time president, first-time vice president and five new members. He said he understands the demand that comes from so many changes.

”Certainly we know the board works as a group, but within that group there’s definitely some individual thought processes that have to be molded, and so I would definitely want to have a one-on-one conversation with each board member and really try and identify what each board member’s priorities are,” Fisher said.

Last, but not least, Dr. Michael Teahon sat up in front of the board. Dr. Teahon served as Gothenburg Public Schools Superintendent from 2001-2019, and is currently the department chair and associate professor of the Educational Administration Department at UNK. He says he’s fit to help get GIPS moving in the right direction because the proof is in the work he’s already put in.

“Even though I was superintendent of a smaller district, I have had a substantial statewide presence in my career,” Dr. Teahon said. “I’m actually still currently a member of the Greater Nebraska superintendents organization as an ad-hoc member. That organization consists of 20-24 of the larger school districts in Nebraska.”

The school board is now set for its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, Jan. 12. In that meeting, the board could possibly announce who they intend to take over as interim superintendent. In the meantime, the board elected to have Dr. Robin Dexter assume the role until it is otherwise appointed.