[UPDATE] The Governing Board voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Gabriel Trujillo as interim superintendent.
On Tuesday, the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board will consider hiring an interim superintendent to fill the vacancy left by the forced resignation of H.T. Sanchez. The top contender is the District’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Gabriel Trujillo.
Dr. Trujillo came to the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) in August 2016 to replace Steve Holmes. Holmes left TUSD to lead the Sunnyside Unified School District. This vital District position, one which deals with what and how instruction is delivered to the students of TUSD, was not filled permanently for over fifteen months. It was filled on an interim basis by someone lacking expertise in curriculum and instruction, which reflects the level of importance that the position was given by the former superintendent.
Prior to coming to TUSD, Trujillo was the Talent Director at the Phoenix Union High School District. In 2014, as principal at Trevor Browne High School, Trujillo was a Rodel Exemplary Principal Finalist.
Both Phoenix Union and TUSD asked the courts to grant unitary status in 2004. “In 2005, a judge lifted the court order against the Phoenix Union High School District after the district improved dropout rates, increased attendance and developed magnet programs,” according to the Arizona Senate record.
Trujillo’s experience at a district that had once been under court supervision for the purposes of desegregation, and his experience recruiting teachers to an urban district, are likely factors in the Governing Board’s vote. Trujillo, although seemingly respectful of TUSD’s chain of command, is said not to have attempted to become involved in the cliquish environment that had been created and reinforced by the former superintendent. This is yet another factor that played part in the decision.