The Amphitheater School District named Patrick Nelson as its new superintendent on April 24, following a rigorous interview process that began with 23 applicants. Nelson, who has served as the district’s associate superintendent since 2002, received a unanimous vote by the Amphitheater Governing Board.

Nelson replaced former Amphi Superintendent Vicki Balentine on July 1. Balentine announced earlier this year that she would be retiring. Nelson and Balentine worked closely together for the past 10 years.

The interview process took place over several months with a nationwide advertisement. The Governing Board narrowed down the search results to three, which included Nelson, Steve Chestnut, and Patrick Sweeney.

Board member Kent Barrabee said Nelson is very deserving of the selection.

“He is very knowledgeable,” said Barrabee. “He had more substantial answers to the questions being asked. You can’t deny the fact that he is also more familiar with the district, of course. He’s had a lot of experience working with Dr. Balentine, who has been an outstanding role model and mentor. He addressed the audience most directly.”

While Nelson was unreachable for a follow-up interview, Barrabee said the new superintendent is supporting the implementation of a new alternative school, which will be partitioned off of Donaldson Elementary School, and divided into junior high and high school students. 

The alternative school will offer a blend of educational programs, with part of the coursework offered online, and two days required in the physical classroom.


Administrative staff

The Amphitheater School District has put new administrative staff in place to fill new positions.

Besides Nelson taking over the district’s top position,  Monica Nelson, former chief academic officer for the Amphi district, has been chosen to take Nelson’s former position as associate superintendent, and will be responsible for supervising two newly-promoted executive directors. 

Former Ironwood Ridge High School Principal Michael Bejarano was named district executive director of secondary education, grades six through 12, while Roseanne Lopez, former principal in the district, was named executive director for elementary education, grades kindergarten through fifth.  

Barrabee said the district is still working on choosing a replacement principal at Ironwood Ridge. 

The district is also looking to hire an individual for its information technology department. 

“The individual will be responsible for running the district’s internet and telephone network, computer support, audio visual support, the district website, management information systems, and other programs relating to attendance reporting, graphics and printing, and mail services,” said Barrabee.

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