Nyssa school board appoints new superintendent

NYSSA – The Nyssa School Board Monday night named Darren Johnson as its new superintendent, capping a week of meetings that left the community wondering who would lead local schools.

Johnson will replace Superintendent Jana Iverson beginning July 1. Iverson had announced her resignation last fall.

Johnson will receive a base salary of $128,000 to oversee a school system with about 1,100 students. That’s $6,000 more than Iverson’s current salary.

The new superintendent was selected during a national search that yielded 17 applicants. After a screening process and an initial round of interviews, the board narrowed its search to two finalists – Johnson and Benjamin Merrill, principal of Middleton High School.

After over a week of discussions and two hours in executive, or closed door, session Monday night, the board voted 5-2 to hire Johnson.

Those voting to hire Johnson were chairman Dave Bunker, vice chairman Victoria Ramirez, Lucy Beck, Michael Hartley and Marlon Wilson. Board members Robert Fehlman and Pat Morinaka voted against his appointment.

Johnson is currently principal of Canyon Crest Elementary School in Provo, Utah, where he has been responsible since 2014 for the education of more than 500 students. He previously was vice principal for Nyssa Elementary School from 1998 to 2007 and an elementary principal from 2007 to 2009 at an Army base in Germany.

Johnson has a doctorate in education administration from the University of Idaho, a master’s in education from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa and a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University.

Bunker said he was drawn to Johnson’s experience.

“Based on references and years of experience, he was overwhelmingly the best choice,” Bunker said.

Board member Lucy Beck, who said she would be resigning her seat this year, said she’s looking forward to Johnson staying in Nyssa.

“It’s going to be great,” Beck said. “I think we’ll see good things to come.”

Johnson’s appointment to the top job in the school district comes at a time when Nyssa is going through a transition.

In addition to Iverson resigning, three other administrators have announced their resignation. They include Jon Wood, the district’s director of programs; Malcolm McRae, Nyssa High School principal; and Hector Martinez, high school vice principal.

A formal meet-and-greet has been scheduled Nyssa School District for Monday, April 8, to give the community an opportunity to meet with Johnson.

News tip? Contact Reporter Kristine de Leon: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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