In Other News

At a special board meeting Wednesday, Aug. 23, SedonaOak Creek School District Superintendent David Lykins announced he’ll be retiring from his position when his contract expires on Saturday, June 30.

On May 2, the SOCSD Governing Board took no action about whether to renew Lykins’ contract, effectively letting it expire at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

“I’ve had the great fortune and opportunity to work with visionary governing board members, talented groups of administrators who strive to focus on students and an extremely professional and dedicated group of teachers and staff who consistently demonstrate the importance of servitude and student-centered educational delivery,” Lykins said. “In the 19 years I’ve had the luxury to serve the SedonaOak Creek School District, I have felt valued and supported by our amazing community, who understands the necessity of our investment in public education and the challenges we face.”

In his statement, Lykins described some of the district’s accomplishments during his seven-year tenure as superintendent, including partnerships with Sedona arts and culture groups, system-wide accreditation through AdvancED and increasing beginning teachers’ salaries. In his nearly two decades with the district, Lykins has also served as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal and alternative education director.

“Every single day of that 19-year service, I’ve come to work feeling that the Sedona-Oak Creek Unified School District is the best district in this county, but also in the region and the state of Arizona,” he said. “There’s a lot to be proud of regarding our district, and a lot that we have accomplished.”

During the meeting, Governing Board President Randy Hawley thanked Lykins for his service.

“Through our conversations in public and privately, there’s never been a question in my mind about your commitment to this district and to the kids in our community. Thank you,” he said.

Lykins said he is announcing his retirement now so the governing board can begin the process of finding his replacement.

“I hope that we find someone who has a wealth of knowledge and experience with multiple districts and the ability to be a team player,” Vice President Heather Hermen said.

“We’ve got big shoes to fill,” board member Karen McClelland said. “He’s done a lot of good things for the district.”

Also during the meeting, the board called Lykins and Sedona Red Rock High School principal Darrin Karuzas into an executive session to discuss Karuzas’ administration of the high school. Before that, during the call to public portion of the meeting, Kirk Westervelt read a statement on behalf of Sedona Red Rock High School staff in response to the board’s call for executive session.

“While we understand that you have the power to call for an executive session pursuant to personnel issues, unfortunately doing so in this manner and at this time erodes healing and trust-building, which we so desperately need,” Westervelt said.

If you would like to read the letter in full, please see the guest perspective on Page 4A of this edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The board adjourned the meeting with no further action or discussion on the executive session. The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 12.


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