Board votes to make hiring practices priority for interim superintendent

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis Municipal Schools board of education decided in a 4-1vote Tuesday to make investigating school hiring practices a priority for Interim Superintendent G.C. Ross.

Charges of discriminatory hiring practices were leveled at Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm during the board’s April 28 meeting by the Concerned Citizens of Curry County.

After a two-and-a-half hour executive session, Secretary Terry Martin offered a motion to place Seidenwurm on administrative leave pending an investigation. The motion failed for lack of a second.

“I feel that when an allegation of discrimination has been brought, the entity has to take it seriously and investigate,” Martin said.

President Mark Lansford read the board’s statement, saying Ross would be involved in hiring and begin looking into hiring practices.

Lansford said while the board has no specific role over personnel, employees of the district deserve to feel they are working in a fair environment.

Member Lora Harlan called the move “a compromise I can live with.”

David Briseno, president of CCCC, said the announcement is a step in the right direction.

“I think at the core we all want the same thing. We don’t agree on how to get there, but we all want the best for all children,” Briseno said. “We will continue with the process. Things are being discussed that otherwise wouldn’t be. And that’s a good thing.”

The board’s statement:

The Board has met in closed session to address the issues raised by several community groups that have expressed concerns about hiring practices in the School District. While the School Board has no specific role over the personnel system, the Board is committed to assuring that all employees enjoy a fair and equitable employment system.

The School Board has named G.C. Ross, a trusted, long-term member of the community and respected veteran of the School District, as the School Board’s Interim Superintendent, to assist the Board in a smooth transition and in its search for a new Superintendent. Mr. Ross has already developed a collaborative relationship with Dr. Seidenwurm and her executive staff and will carry out that collaboration in the Personnel area, prior to Dr. Seidenwurm’s effective date of resignation; and, is hereby charged, by the Board, with the responsibility for assuring a fair, equitable and transparent hiring and personnel system, as his first priority upon assuming his duties as Interim Superintendent.