Clovis school board picks Las Cruces superintendent

By Marlena Hartz: Freedom Newspapers

Clovis school board members on Thursday offered the superintendent’s position to Rhonda Seidenwurm, deputy superintendent of instruction for Las Cruces public schools.
Seidenwurm, reached at her home late Thursday, said she has accepted the job, pending negotiations related to salary and benefits.

“I have no doubt we will be able to work all (the terms) out,” Seidenwurm said.

Tucumcari Superintendent Bill Reents was a finalist for the position, along with Clovis residents Elementary Principal David Briseno, former high school principal Andy Sweet and assistant superintendent Ladona Clayton.

Throughout the interview process, school officials debated whether an outsider or administrators already employed by the district would be the best successor for Nuttall.

Those who supported Seidenwurm or Reents said an outsider would provide a fresh look at the district, most notably with budget problems and the possibility of corresponding staff cuts.

Board members met for 3 1/2 hours in executive session before making the announcement. Seidenwurm was one of five finalists for the position, which became open late last year when Neil Nuttall accepted a job with a Missouri junior college.

“As the length of the executive meeting suggested, this was a difficult decision,” board member Mark Lansford said.

“We looked at all the traits (that the public expressed they wanted in a candidate) and she was the best qualified,” board member Lora Harlan said.

Harlan said board members were unanimous in selecting Seidenwurm, who has experience at every level of administration. She was formerly superintendent for schools in Philadelphia, Miss.

Seidenwurm said she plans to visit with Clovis teachers and principals sometime in early May. She is expected to move into her new role as superintendent on June 1, Harlan said.

Clovis Municipal Schools Board President Terry Martin thanked members of the public for their input and support throughout the interview process. Dozens of educators and others waited through much of the school board’s private discussions and about 20 were still in the board room when the board members emerged.

The announcement was met by applause.