The Phoenix Union Governing Board unanimously named Dr. Chad Gestson Interim Superintendent to replace Dr. Kent P. Scribner, who is the sole finalist for the Fort Worth, TX Independent School District superintendent. The announcement was made at a special board meeting, Tuesday evening.
Gestson’s appointment is contingent upon Scribner’s contract approval in Fort Worth, which requires a 21-day waiting period. Currently the District’s Director of School Leadership, Gestson’s interim contract will be through June 30, 2016.
The announcement comes one week after Scribner was introduced as the sole finalist for the Fort Worth position. Scribner is expected to begin his duties in Texas later this fall.
Gestson, 37, has been with Phoenix Union High School District for seven years. After serving as principal of Camelback High School for five years, he became a member of the superintendent’s Leadership team last year as the Director of School Leadership, overseeing principals and developing future principals and assistant principals in an Aspiring Leaders program.
“I am humbled and honored to have been chosen to lead and serve this great community, rich in diversity and potential,” Gestson said. “With the support of an exceptional governing board and district leadership at all levels, we are committed to a seamless transition so that we can continue the great work already in place here in Phoenix Union.”
“We are going to be fine,” Governing Board member Ian Danley said after the announcement. “The board is committed to moving to a permanent process, with public input so that we can listen to those we represent.”
Gestson, the 2013 District Administrator of the Year, was a 2013-14 Rodel Exemplary Principal, one of only seven in the state that year. In that role, he mentored aspiring teachers, particularly those who will lead schools of lower income students.
Among his accomplishments at Camelback, he instituted an Advisory period where students meet daily for four years with the same advisor, started an evening credit-recovery Virtual School, opened the first Montessori High School program in the state, founded the Food and Clothing Bank that serves the entire community, reinvigorated the Camelback Alumni Association and partnered with many local business and groups, including Social Venture Partners, which has invested time, talent and funding in the school.
Camelback’s student achievement improved, college scholarships for students increased, and student participation in sports, the arts, clubs, community service and campus event attendance or other activities was mandatory.
Gestson won the 2010-2011 Lead and Inspire Award, Urban High School Division, presented by ASU’s Office of Education partnerships. He also won the award as a middle school principal at Carl T. Smith Middle School in the Isaac School District in 2008.
Gestson spent five years as an administrator in the Isaac School District, and taught for three years at Roosevelt. A Teach for America product, prior to his public education career, he was a commercial construction superintendent in Seattle. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington, two Masters from ASU and Northern Arizona, and an Ed. D. in Educational Leadership from NAU.
Gestson is married to Megan, a principal in Roosevelt Elementary District, and they have two children: Olivia, (11) and son, Andrew (8). Gestson resides in Phoenix.