Narducci named Chandler Unified superintendent - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Narducci named Chandler Unified superintendent

December 19th, 2021 development
Narducci named Chandler Unified superintendent

By Ken Sain, Staff Writer

Chandler Unified School District Superintendent Frank Narducci’s title got a little shorter this month.

A divided Governing Board on Dec. 8 voted to remove “interim” from his title and let him lead the district through at least June 2024.

The Governing Board voted 3-1 to give Narducci a contract for the next two-and-a-half years.

He has been running the district for the past year since Dr. Camille Casteel retired starting in January after being superintendent for 25 years.

Board member Lara Bruner voted no, but she made it clear she supported Narcucci and respected his work. She said her objection was over the process used to make the decision.

“I can’t in good conscience vote for this action item,” Bruner said. “Not because of who is being recommended, but rather the process that was used to arrive at the decision.

“I believe we owe it to the community to follow best practices when hiring a superintendent, which includes gathering feedback on the qualities that the community, parents, staff, community organizations and all the other stakeholders want to see in the superintendent. There should be a posting and there should be a public forum of the finalists.”

Board member Jason Olive did not attend the meeting.

Narducci’s contract calls for an annual base salary of $215,000 a year. He also gets a monthly $850 automobile allowance for the first year. The Governing Board can increase that amount in the second and third years, but cannot decrease it.

Narducci is also eligible for additional pay bonuses and the District will contribute $16,200 each year to a tax-deferred annuity. Also, the District will pay up to $5,000 for his membership in professional development organizations.

Two of Narducci’s top assistants praised the selection.

“If you look back at the history of hiring superintendents in the East Valley, there’s been a lot of ‘let’s go out and find someone that’s not in-house,’ and then sometimes that person doesn’t work out, and then they go back in-house,” said Dr. Craig Gilbert, the assistant superintendent for secondary education.

“And what you end up finding is there’s a lot lost because you’ve had to pause, because you thought you were going to get something else that was nice and green across the street, and you found out there was a lot of weeds.”

He was not alone.

“As you know my tenure with this district, is coming to a close,” said Frank Fletcher, the district’s associate superintendent for support services. “So I don’t really have anything to lose. But the Governing Board absolutely made the correct decision.

“We have seen it, the history of the East Valley, outside superintendents come in, blow up districts and that’s not what Chandler is about.”

Under state law, the district cannot offer a contract of more than three years.

“Mr. Naducci has strong connections within our Chandler community,” said board President Barb Mozdzen. “We’re confident he’ll be able to lead the district with his innovation and commitment to education.”

She said the decision was not made in a vacuum. Mozdzen said board members heard from all the stakeholders and there was strong support for Narducci, who has worked in the district for 25 years.

“I have never been one that hasn’t accepted a challenge,” Narducci said. “These are tough times to lead, and we know that. I think our district deserves tough leaders in tough times.

“I appreciate the confidence you have bestowed on me, and know it’s a great responsibility. … It isn’t a solo act, it never has been. Those of us that have been around a long time know it takes all of us, and even members sitting in this room, to engage and help our district become better.”


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