Update: Tombstone Superintendent Now Candidate for Sierra Vista District

[Update] As of last night Uterhardt was not selected for the position. The Sierra Vista Board chose their interim superintendent, Kriss Hagerl.


Karl Uterhardt, superintendent of Tombstone Unified School District, is one of five candidates for Sierra Vista Unified School District superintendent.

The Sierra Vista Board of Education will interview all five candidates Saturday at a “Meet the Candidate” community event at Buena High School. The board is expected to name the supervisor when it meets April 15.

Uterhardt also doubles as principal at Walter J. Meyer Elementary School in Tombstone. He said if he were selected he would finish out the academic year in Tombstone.

“As soon as I know, the [TUSD] board will know,” Uterhardt said. “I was brought up to believe that you should leave some place in better condition than when you came in. If I’m selected by the Sierra Vista board, I won’t just disappear from Tombstone. I’ll finish at Tombstone on June 30th, start at Sierra Vista July 1st.”

Steve Highlen, executive search and senior policy consultant for the Arizona School Board Association, said a school board provides a list of qualifications and experience it feels a candidate should have. Highlen then sorts through the applications and selects the ones best suited for the school board.

Uterhardt said he applied for the Sierra Vista job for the challenge of running a district much larger than Tombstone.

“I would say the Sierra Vista district is five to six times bigger [than TUSD],” said Uterhardt, who lives in Sierra Vista.

“Sometimes moving to a larger venue is the only way to grow as a superintendent.”

Sierra Vista has six elementary schools, a middle school and a high school and, according to Uterhardt, employs over 600 faculty and staff. Tombstone has three schools and 147 faculty and staff.

Uterhardt has been Tombstone superintendent for seven years and has worked in education for almost 20 years. He has a master’s degree in educational leadership and a bachelor’s in special and secondary sciences.

Uterhardt said he was surprised when he was notified that Sierra Vista was interested in him.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “I know I can contribute to the Sierra Vista district and I am very interested in what they are trying to accomplish as a district. It’s an awesome, a grand opportunity.”

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