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Jul 11, 2013 2:22 AM by Sam Salzwedel

New TUSD superintendent talks about first week and first board meeting

TUCSON - TUSD's new superintendent, H.T. Sanchez, is encouraged by a boardroom full of concerned parents, teachers and students.

"What would have been disheartening would have been an empty boardroom," he said, "because that means people aren't interested. But if people are there, and they're talking, and they're providing their different perspectives, they're talking about education. And it's always a good thing."

Sanchez just started last week. He came from a district of about 30,000 students near Odessa, Texas. Tucson Unified School District has about 50,000 students.

He referred to challenges as opportunities, specifically, mentioning the budget. He pointed out that school boards in Texas have the power to tax people in their district, unlike Arizona. He also said the money per student was comparable.

"I think that's an opportunity," Sanchez said. "How can we be more efficient in our use of the tax dollars that are coming in and be more effective?"

He is ready to work with the District Governing Board, even if they do not always agree.

"I look at it as a team of 6," he said. "And as with any team, it's great when everybody is working together and seeing issues eye to eye."

He wants parents to see more communication from his office as they work on long-term goals. Sanchez has been talking about his 5-year plan. When asked if he will be here long enough to see it through, he said that is what he hopes.

"I'd love to. I'd love to be here for the five years, and it's more like six years," Sanchez said. "It takes one year to get it together and five years to move it forward. So I hope to. That's my expectation, and it's my family's expectation as well."

Sanchez' Deputy Superintendent will be Adrian Vega, who worked under him in his previous district. The Governing Board approved the appointment Tuesday night.

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