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Morgan Hill
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February 9, 2023

Search on for school chief

It’s official: Morgan Hill School District Superintendent
Carolyn McKennan will not be returning to her position after her
contract expires June 30.
It’s official: Morgan Hill School District Superintendent Carolyn McKennan will not be returning to her position after her contract expires June 30.

Outgoing Board President George Panos announced at last week’s board meeting, his last as a trustee, that the board was “giving notice” to McKennan, in effect making official what she had earlier stated.

McKennan has said she would not seek renewal of her contract.

“I haven’t retired,” McKennan said last week. “I don’t think much about it (her future plans). Some people say if you think about retirement, you may already be retired … My focus is on the present.”

McKennan said she has enjoyed her work with the district.

“I love what I get to do here,” she said. “Even on the weekends, when I have an activity like a conference, or a dinner or school function.”

McKennan said does not have any commitments beyond June 30.

“Right now, I’m thinking about the near future,” she said. “I’m not committed to anything. There are still a lot of things that need to be done here. There are lots of challenges and lots of opportunities here.”

McKennan’s contract was last extended in September 2002, before the election of three new board members and re-election of one board member in November 2002. At the time, the contract was extended two years and included a 2 percent raise and a doctoral stipend of $1,500, for an annual salary of $136,752, not including the annual cumulative longevity bonus of $35,000 for the last seven of her nine years of work in the district.

“Dr. McKennan is passionate in her drive to provide outstanding educational opportunities for each and every student of the district,” Panos said.

“The contributions that she has made to the Morgan Hill School District will touch the lives of students for years to come.”

During the board’s Oct. 25 meeting, Panos appointed a committee of trustees to review proposals from firms who could direct the search for a new superintendent. He appointed trustees Shellé Thomas, Amina Khemici and Mike Hickey, as well as newly appointed Trustee Don Moody.

Moody was appointed by trustees Oct. 19 to fill the remainder of former Trustee Tom Kinoshita’s term. Kinoshita resigned in March. But district staff, in researching whether Moody’s appointment would give the committee a quorum – four members present at a meeting – and therefore make the subcommittee meetings subject to rules for public meetings, including adequate notification of upcoming meetings, found in the Education Code a passage that says a trustee who has been elected or appointed, even though not yet sworn in, must behave as if he or she is a trustee.

Moody will be sworn in Dec. 6, along with newly elected Trustees Kathy Sullivan, Peter Mandel and Julia Hover-Smoot.

Panos appointed Thomas, Hickey and Sullivan during the Nov. 15 meeting to the subcommittee dealing with the superintendent succession process. Deputy Superintendent Bonnie Tognazzini’s one-year contract is up for review in December. Discussion of her contract was on the closed session agenda for the Nov. 15 meeting, but nothing about her contract was reported out from the session.

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