It was a time of transitions for the Parker Unified School District at the School Board’s July 10 meeting. The meeting involved the new leadership for the district: Superintendent Brad Sale and Assistant Superintendent Paul Olson.
Both started their new positions July 1 when the retirement of former Superintendent Jim Lotts became effective. Sale, who had been Assistant Superintendent, was named by the school board to replace Lotts in December. Olson, who had been Principal of Parker High School, was named Assistant Superintendent by the board at the end of January.
There were mostly minor items on the agenda for July 10. The biggest item was approving the district’s budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The projected expenditures were $16.7 million, with a secondary property tax rates of $1.2602 per $100 of net assessed value.
Sale is a native of South Dakota who started with the Parker schools in 1998. He served as a junior high social studies teacher and coached junior high and high school wrestling and football. He was Assistant Principal at Parker High from 2002 to 2006 and Principal at Wallace Elementary School from 2006 to 2011. He was Assistant Superintendent from 2011 to July 2019.
His duties as Assistant Superintendent included overseeing the school’s finances, business department, transportation department and maintenance department. He was also the district’s hearing officer.
Olson has more than 30 years as an educator and 24 years as a school administrator. He began his career at Parker High School in 1987, but moved to Minnesota in 1998 so his children could be close to their grandparents. He dealt with some tough budget choices when he was a principal in Royalton, Minn.
He returned to Arizona in 2001 and served two positions in the Lake Havasu City school district, Assistant Principal at Daytona Middle School and Principal at Thunderbolt Middle School. He returned to Parker High School in 2011.
Both Sale and Olson have said they want to see continued expansion of career-technical education in the Parker School District. They also want to address the ongoing teacher shortage and rebuild the district’s infrastructure. They said the schools will need more money from the state to do that.
Sale said the transition has gone smoothly, and has been almost seamless. He credited this to Lotts preparing him for the job.
“It’s been a good transition,” Sale said. “Jim and I have been working on this since last fall.”
The School Board’s next regular meeting will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 14 at Le Pera Elementary School. This will be the annual meeting the Board holds at Le Pera.