9OYS Education Watch
Pedicone's resignation poses question: Why can't TUSD hang on to a leader?
Reporter: Maggie Vespa
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - In a suprise news conference Wednesday, TUSD superintendent Dr. John Pedicone announced his resignation.
Whoever replaces him will be the third superintendent to lead the district in four years.
While some call it déjà vu, others call it an unsettling trend.
9OYS caught up with those who have been through a 'changing of the TUSD guard' before, to ask, "Why can't the district keep a leader?"
From parents to administrators, the initial reaction seems to be the same.
"I'm awfully surprised. It was a short tenure for him," said Ricardo Gomez, PTA president at Roskruge school.
"Well I was pretty surprised," said former board president Miguel Cuevas.
Fellow former president Alex Rodriguez agreed, adding, "Clearly the resignation of the superintendent was a surprise."
Those who have been around the resignation block before, say it's a familiar feeling.
"The cabinet is going to have a very rough time as it did in 2010 when Dr. Fagen quit," said current board member Dr. Mark Stegeman.
Dr. Pedicone's is Stegeman's second superintendent send-off.
His first was Dr. Elizabeth Celenia-Fagen, who stepped down three years ago, like Pedicone, before her contract was up.
Also on the board at the time were Rodriguez and Cuevas.
So 9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa went to all three to ask the question, "Why can't the district keep somebody in that top spot for more than a few years?"
Rodriguez responded, "For a variety of historic and challenging factors."
The first of which, says Stegeman, is obvious.
"The whole Mexican-American studies issue, I think, was very draining," he said.
Rodriguez also pointed out, "The federal desegregation order with challenges of budgetary issues."
In short, running Arizona's second largest school district is no walk in the park.
"It has its economic issues, its social issues, its unions issues," said Cuevas.
And that's why Dr. Stegeman argues the key to keeping one around centers on improving the district as a whole.
"It's a tough road, and I think superintendents burn out, but I think hopefully we will soon get to the point where things are working well enough that the burn-out factor is reduced," he said.