Higley school district votes in new superintendent

The Higley Unified School District Governing Board voted unanimously Tuesday, Feb. 24, to name Dr. Mike Thomason the next superintendent of the district. He will begin July 1.

Dr. Thomason, the assistant superintendent of operations for Higley Unified School District, brings more than 20 years of education and leadership to the helm. He was selected following a nearly seven-month-long search that included input from Higley teachers, staff, parents, business leaders and community members. Dr. Thomason was one of four finalists for the position.

“It is an honor to be selected as Higley’s next superintendent,” said Dr. Thomason. “My goal is to continue along the forward path created the last few years to connect, engage, and inspire every Higley student to reach his and her full potential. I am excited about this opportunity, especially the chance to continue working with our amazing teachers and staff.”

Dr. Thomason began his career as a special education teacher in Arizona. His past experience includes being a department chairman, guidance counselor, assistant principal, and high school coach.

He joined HUSD in 2009 as the director of special education. In 2011, he was named assistant superintendent of student services. In 2013, he assumed the role as assistant superintendent of operations.

“Through great discussion, collaboration and cooperation, we unanimously decided Dr. Thomason is the right choice for Higley. We appreciate Dr. Thomason’s foundational knowledge of the district, Arizona school finance and the challenges that face public schools here. He appreciates the uniqueness of Higley, our community values and the drive the district has to constantly improve,” said Governing Board President Venessa Whitener. “Dr. Thomason is dedicated to the mission of propelling Higley forward.”

Dr. Thomason has Bachelor of Science degrees in special education and elementary education from Arizona State University. He has a Master of Arts degree in guidance counseling from Ottawa University from 2001. He has his doctorate degree in educational leadership and policy from ASU from 2009.

Current Superintendent Dr. Denise Birdwell announced her plans to retire in spring 2014. Her final day will be June 30, the last day of her current contract.

HUSD serves about 12,000 students enrolled in 12 schools and two preschools. The district covers areas of Gilbert and Queen Creek in the East Valley.

The Queen Creek Independent publishes a daily newsletter and website. A print edition is mailed each month to 24,000 homes.

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