Public input sought in search for superintendent

PALM SPRINGS — Palm Springs Unified School District Trustees have approved a $26,500 contract with Glendora-based Leadership Associates to conduct a search for a new superintendent.

Since July 3, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. Tonatiuh ‘Tony’ Signoret is the interim Superintendent of Schools. He is eligible to apply for the permanent position, Joan Boiko, Coordinator of Communications & Community Outreach, confirmed.

To ensure this is a collaborative and inclusive process, the Board is providing an online survey and encourages participation. The Board of Trustees has requested that consultants from Leadership Associates, who are assisting the Board with the search, conduct an online survey to solicit input from students, staff, parents, and community.

Deadline for applications is Sept. 28 with the expectation a new superintendent will be on board Jan. 1.

By law, the Board is solely responsible for hiring the new Superintendent. The Board will seek,
receive, and consider all input from the community, review all applications, interview those candidates determined by the Board and select the new Superintendent.

All application materials, including the names of applicants and any other personally identifiable
information, are confidential under law.

The search for a superintendent was prompted by the abrupt resignation of the beleaguered Mike Swize, who was named PSUSD’s superintendent in July of 2021. The announcement of his departure came in the form of a news release on June 26. The dominoes had started to fall.

Two sources confirmed for Uken Report that Trustees allegedly told Swize to find another job or be fired, thus the abrupt departure.

Uken Report reached out to all trustees for comment. No one replied except President John Gerardi, how said he has long-followed my reporting. “Given your experience, I trust you recognize that, as a board member, I am unable to address confidential personnel matters,” Gerardi wrote in an email.

The release announcing Swize’s departure stated that he was stepping down to lead Perris Elementary District. About a month later Swize was out of that job, too. It is unclear if he even started.

On the surface, his brisk departure made little sense. He was moving to a smaller district and taking a 2.9% pay cut. He had announced his divorce. His wife, Joy Ona Swize, petitioned the court for the divorce.

All of this coincided with the abrupt departure of a beloved elementary school teacher who was once named teacher of the year and Swize’s subordinate.

No word on what Swize is doing now.

As for the Board of Trustees, they are ready to move forward.


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