TUSD administrator’s hiring surrounded by cloud of controversy

TUSD’s Governing Board voted to make Vivian “Candy” Egbert the district’s permanent Chief Operating Officer. Acknowledging that the hiring process was highly questionable, Mark Stegeman voted against Egbert, and Judy Burns joined him in keeping with her support of district staff. Egbert is widely unpopular with district staff.

As the Tucson Daily Independent  reported Monday, it was just a few months back that TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone had to pull a vote on the permanent employment of Candy (Vivian) Egbert from the TUSD Governing Board agenda. Rather than risk a negative vote on Egbert, Pedicone removed the issue from Board consideration. At the time, he knew that he did not have the Board’s support for the controversial administrator. Complaints about the hiring process arose as well.

Egbert came to TUSD from Sunnyside where her time there was marked by controversy. Prior to that, Egbert left the Yuma School District under a cloud of controversy. At the time, the Yuma Sun reported that, “The governing board announced on Monday the mutual decision for Superintendent Vivian Egbert to resign from the district effective Sunday….The president of the Yuma Elementary Education Association, said the majority of the 300 teachers in the association supported the board’s decision.” Just like the common complaints about Egbert in Yuma, TUSD staff that is concerned about Egbert’s attitude and its affect on staff morale.

Parents complained about her attitude toward them and treatment by her at the Carson School closing meetings. She was dismissive, and demanded that the audience listen to her, but she refused to use a microphone so that they could hear her. She implied that she was a former junior high teacher and knew how to talk to rowdy groups. The well behaved crowd continued to endure her condescending behavior until Mr. Jim Fish graciously stepped up and treated the parents, and students with the dignity they deserved.

She was passed over by the Mammoth, and Humboldt School Districts. The Prescott Valley Tribune in a story about Humboldt’s superintendent search, wrote:

Two women and two men made the most recent finalist list in the superintendent search for Humboldt Unified School District. All four reside in Arizona.

A brief profile of each follows in alphabetical order.

Vivian Egbert hails from Vail, a town southeast of Tucson, and is the interim director of 34 elementary schools in the Tucson Unified School District. She has 14 years experience as a middle school math teacher and math and technology coordinator in Tucson; five years as pre-K-8 grade school principal in Tucson; a year as special assistant to the superintendent for Elk Grove Unified School District in Sacramento, Calif., with a student enrollment of 45,000; four years as superintendent of Yuma Elementary School District, with student enrollment of 11,000; two years as assistant superintendent, curriculum and instruction, of Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson; and she runs an education consulting service.

Loretta Hunnicutt