SIOUX CITY — The Sioux City School Board has confirmed the appointment of Angela Bemus as the district’s new associate superintendent, despite questions raised by some board members about the selection process.
Bemus is currently the director of curriculum, instruction and assessment in the district. Kim Buryanek, the current associate superintendent, has accepted a position with the Iowa Department of Education as the Pre-K-12 division administrator.
On May 9, school board president Dan Greenwell read a letter in which acting superintendent Rod Earleywine recommended Bemus as associate superintendent. At its Monday meeting, the board approved Bemus as “senior director,” effective July 1, on the condition that she obtain her superintendent’s license by August 13.
Once Bemus obtains its state license, the board will be asked to change its job title to associate superintendent, human resources director Jen Gomez said.
The senior manager position was listed along with hundreds of other job changes in a human resources report under the council’s consent program. The board generally approves agendas by consent with a single vote, unless one or more board members request that individual items be discussed and voted on separately. The board approved the agenda by unanimous consent, with board member Juli Albert abstaining, citing a conflict of interest.
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At the end of the meeting, board member Perla Alarcon-Flory asked for more discussion about the associate superintendent position, admitting that she hadn’t realized earlier that the position had been included. in the human resources file.
“He’s an academic director and I think we need to be very transparent with the community about that,” said Alarcon-Flory, who is a former chairman of the board.
Albert said it appeared board members had unanswered questions about the position, but it had already been approved.
“The process wasn’t as transparent as we would have liked, we all know that,” Albert said. “I’m still not convinced we ever said it would be a permanent position, but it was on the agenda and we voted for it tonight.”
The board previously gave Earleywine the go-ahead to appoint an associate superintendent, but said the board would give final approval.
Greenwell defended the process, saying Bemus’s selection was read out in open session and the senior manager’s job description was the same as that of the associate superintendent, except for the possibility of replacing Earleywine.
Earleywine said he has met with all current members of the district administration who have expressed interest in the position. The acting superintendent said he told those who were not selected that he thought they would be better used in their current positions.
Alarcon-Flory and Albert asked if the associate superintendent should be appointed on a temporary or permanent basis.
“I asked that question and there was no answer, it was said that (Earleywine) was going to tell us, but we were going to approve anyway,” Alarcon-Flory said.
Greenwell responded by saying it was the consensus of the board to have a permanent position.
Alarcon-Flory argued that with Monday’s vote, the board essentially approved Bemus as associate superintendent.
“We’re just playing with words; we endorse the associate superintendent and he’s a permanent associate superintendent,” she said.
The board named Earleywine as acting superintendent after longtime superintendent Paul Gausman accepted the position of superintendent of Lincoln, Nebraska Public Schools. Earleywine previously served as District Superintendent of Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
Sioux City school officials have said little about the process for selecting a permanent superintendent.
At Monday’s meeting, board member Monique Scarlett asked Bemus if she had been approached by Greenwell more than a year ago to become superintendent. Bemus replied that for the past three years, Greenwell had asked her if she was interested in becoming a superintendent in a casual conversation.
“I’ve never been approached to be superintendent now, I’ve never been approached for a period of time, it’s always been brought up in general terms,” Bemus told the board.
As part of the human resources package, the board approved Amy Denney to replace Bemus as director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. Denney is currently the principal of Perry Creek Elementary.