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11/9/2012 6:01:00 AM
'D' rating sparks Kingman principal shuffle
Palo Christi principal takes the reins at Kingman Middle School
John Seward
John Seward
Gary Blanton
Gary Blanton

Ahron Sherman
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - John Seward, the principal at Kingman Middle School, has been reassigned to the head position at the school district's continuation program.

Kingman Middle School received a D rating from the Arizona Department of Education last year - Seward's first year as principal. As a result, numerous intervention programs were and continue to be implemented at the school, and the district believes Palo Christi Principal Gary Blanton is better suited to get the school where it needs to be. So the district decided to shake things up.

"I'm still digesting the information," said Seward, who will start his new job Tuesday. "But I'm ready to dive in."

The continuation program serves middle school students with behavioral problems and academic difficulties and can accommodate those with special education needs. It's closely aligned with the experience Seward gained in Broome County, N.Y., where he directed the special education program for the Broome-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

"We're trying to maximize the leadership at our schools, especially at the middle schools," said KUSD Superintendent Roger Jacks.

Blanton, who has a wealth of experience at the middle school level and has been extremely successful at Palo Christi Elementary, is set to take over for Seward at KMS on Tuesday, Jacks said.

"We feel Mr. Blanton can push the school to the next level," Jacks said.

This was Blanton's sixth year at Palo Christi, and though he's excited about the challenges ahead of him, it's hard for him to say goodbye to the staff and students.

Through effort and determination, Blanton

and his staff helped make Palo Christi an A-rated school and one of the top 100 public schools in the state.

"I've just been very blessed," Blanton said. "But I go where I'm assigned. Hopefully, we can all come together."

He's ready for the challenge, but that doesn't mean he was expecting it.

"I didn't see this coming," he said.

Though KMS has improved since last year, it hasn't been a speedy process. This switch comes from the idea that Blanton can make the needed improvements more quickly and Seward, though he has tried, may not be able to, Jacks said.

There's no time for waiting, Jacks said. The school year goes by extremely fast and the district cannot afford another D rating from any of its schools, he added. In fact, the goal is to have all the schools bringing in A's and B's.

Blanton's ability to communicate and collaborate with his staff is a huge benefit, one that's paid off time and again at other district schools, Jacks said.

"The school is going through a period of transition, with lots of new programs," Seward said.

Seward sent out a one-call to KMS parents Thursday and has met individually with students who heard through the grapevine that change was imminent.

With Seward headed to the continuation program, its current administrator, Kim Pattillo, will move over to KMS administration.

Additionally, Kevin Curran, the assistant principal at Hualapai Mountain Elementary, will take over for Blanton at Palo Christi on an interim basis, Jacks said.

Curran possesses many of the attributes that make Blanton such a successful principal and should be able to continue down the path Blanton created, Jacks said. He'll have a chance at a contract for the position toward the end of the year, depending on how well he does.

Keeping Palo Christi performing at a high level is as important as bringing up the performance at KMS, Jacks said.

Don't think the district is simply writing Seward off.

Jacks has a lot of faith in Seward to succeed in the continuation program, and the district expects to use his expertise in the area to improve the program overall.

"It's a better place for him," Jacks said.

ICT - Dr. Mohtaseb
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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012
Article comment by: Mad Parent

Wow ! Such bull------ first Mr. Blanton did not make Palo Christi an A school it was the last principal. Mr. Blanton has not been there for 6 years if I recall its only been 2 going on 3 because my kids went there. Why Mr. Jacks are you giving Mr. Blanton the credit something he didn't do. Just to make you look good. Don't be a liar.

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Article comment by: You Bet

@ The Fox Hound

I agree, starting with the "main" administrator, "Mr. Jacks"! I'm just waiting for the news to break on the infidelities and fraternization that been going on there for the last 20 years!

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Article comment by: Mary Fran Romeo


A little member of my family went to Hualapai, where they seem to think they are hot stuff, and consistently pulled D's and F's. Now she is at the Blended School, with the K12 program, and has only one D (spelling) and the rest all A's. It speaks for itself...

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Article comment by: Vindictive or COA?

@ Ha Ha

"Failing to educate them properly is definitely front-page news" Maybe so, so is fraternization and infidelities. Why didn't those make the front-page news? I see nothing here that doesn't spell vindictive! Doesn't Jacks do the hiring or at least approve it? What's his punishment, a raise?

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Article comment by: What the ?

This guy is not a criminal! Why is he being publicly raked through the coals? Is Jacks trying to save his hide? Itís wrong if anyone else sees this as wrong please write an email. I certainly am.

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
John Huppenthal

State Board Of Education

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Article comment by: Anom Anom

Wow! Public humiliation? What about Jacks, is he stepping down? I think I see a firestorm on the horizon for Kingman Unified School District, if not, there should be!

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Article comment by: Blind The Public

I have names John and the circumstances going back 20 years. More of the "Good Ole" boy stuff that will surprise the Blind Public of the internal workings at KUSD! Nothing has changed in 20 years!

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Article comment by: Some Stats

I somewhat agree with Foxhound: Hereís the breakdown, Top 10 (D -8, R-2), Top 20 (D-15, R-5), then the Last 20 (D-4, R-16), Last 10 (D-1, R-9), for the rest that are middle of the Road, (D-8, R-3). The blame for this goes to Parents, Teachers, but the Main reason is that the schools are not getting the funding. Moving people around is not uncommon with KUSD when someone uhhhh, misbehaves or performs poorly for those tied in with HYTY contracts (hint: Blanton s not squeaky clean, itís seems to be the practice. No HYTY, your history! Mr. Steward is not alone however itís not for me to tell the whole story or who the others were, the Staff knows these secrets. Take it for whatís it worth.
I also agree with Dee Dee! Itís wrong Mr. Jacks and KDM owe this man a public apology! If youíre not going to expose everyone, donít embarrass just one guy. Iíd file a lawsuit Iíll help him!

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Article comment by: Faye Garcia

This is the problem right here people...Instead of firing this person and the world becomes a better place...get off the internet and go volunteer in your child's classroom...go help the teacher grade papers...go help in the's so easy to point and blame someone for the problem instead of being part of the solution...VOLUNTEER its one small step in the right direction...I do it once a week during my lunch for my grandson...It helps more than you think...

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Article comment by: Rick Sherwood

@ The Fox Hound

You quoted some interesting "facts". I wonder if you analyzed those facts. Could it be the longer you spend in academia the more liberal you become? I think most will agree that the public schools systems up to and including most all colleges are very liberal. So could it be that the highly educated have a bent tore a more liberal bias?

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Hey Just Wondering ,Facts are facts doesn't matter if you agree with me or not. I'm sure your " just wondering" about an awful lot these days. Like why the Republicans can't win the presidency. Its simple they are out of step with America. Obama won by 3 million votes but if everybody in the country had voted it would have been a giant landslide, and if it wasn't for the way they draw up the voting districts the Repubs would never win any election. If we want better schools we need to hire better administrators.

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Article comment by: A Parent

@ Just Wondering .

The hispanics and blacks that went to the polls were smart enough not to let Romney in . They must of paid attention in class don't ya think . ?

And then you have a kid of color who grew up and became the President of the United States for 8 YEARS . He must of paid attention in class .

It's thoughts like yours that lost you the election . You will continue to lose the election as long as you think like you do .

Education starts at HOME . Good Luck to both of the Principals .

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: too familiar too bad

we all know that keller wouldnt have been a good choice, sounds like someones wife is writing into the paper...we ve heard you complain before...curran is the best elementary vp in our district, he has patiently waited for his turn and will be an excellent fit at PC..

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: Sherry Grove

@John Armstrong
Sounds like you feel that he should be given the same change as Obama, a second term or in this case, a second year...
To those of you making it political, it's our children not politics, I am sure he is a fine principal and this may or may not be his fault. But either way, he doesn't have the skill, at this point, to pull a school from a D to an A. Maybe he can manage an A school and keep it there, but fixing a problem is a different story. It's nothing against him, but this is our children.

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@Dee Dee Jones


Demotion? Unless he suffers a loss of pay, and that was not mentioned, it is not really a demotion.

As to being horrified, he must not be. Anyone with an ounce of self respect would have left, not taken another job in the system.

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: Ha Ha

Hey fox, check the facts? Ok, yours is valid, that's what the colors show. But if colors are what you're looking at, make sure you look at the areas of high Obama support, and those voters, and total all of those factors up. Break down your facts, post them, and let the race war begin. I'm interested to see the minority voter turn-out in four years if the candidacy is represented by two white people. Not a racist, just "looking at the facts."

Dee Dee - Seward was responsible for the education of hundreds of our children. Failing to educate them properly is definitely front-page news. I'm not sure what you do, but I'm pretty sure we don't care if you get demoted, you're safe for now. Look at the point of the story and determine if he is the victim, or if the kids are. It's not about Seward, it's about his poor performance and the ultimate cost of said.

Sooner or later, Jacks will make-way for someone who will get the job done. As for now, Blanton will get the job done at KMS. He's well qualified to do so. If Clint Keller is "the only caring person at Cerbat," why would you want him moved??? That would leave no caring person. Eventually Gretchen will have the reins, until then, it is what it is...

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: Dee Dee Jones

I feel bad for John Seward...the Daily Miner has put his demotion on the front page of the newspaper. If I was demoted at my job, I would be horrified to find my predicament on the front page of the newspsper.

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

So instead of giving the obviously incompetant principal the boot, they transferred him. Typical govt. employees. It would not surprise me at all if the just lower the standards or fake the records at the school after this just to make it appear better.

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: John Armstrong

During the 2011-2012 school year, I heard from various sources throughout the community that the was a systematic movement within Kingman Middle School to undermine and embarrass Mr. Steward.

I feel that his transfer is the fruit of this labor by those whom seeked to destroy his authority and ideas to better KMS.

I never met him myself but know he was making real progress in stopping bullying and a stronger/safer learning environment for all students.

Transferring him now is like firing a head coach after his first season. He needs time to get his system of running things in place. But now he will not get it.

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: Just Wondering

Fox Hound, what a load of garbage. Still trying to make liberals look like the educated party. Obama won because he had an overwhelming majority of hispanic and blacks voting for him. When it comes to education, these groups fail miserably.

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: Rachel Brenner

I agree with Town Crier. Gretchen knows her stuff. Let her run this district. They finally brought in a new face to run Lee Williams. Quit shuffling all the people around. Fire them if they can't do their job. Enough of the good ole' boy system of hiring friends. Why is it that most of our teachers and admin are from Kingman? We need fresh ideas. We need change. We need to do things differently. We need to keep our kids in school. Our dropout rate is horrible. Why don't our kids want to stay in school? Lets think people.

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: Just A Thought

Ok so he was not performing at the middle school so lets put him in the continuing education program??? Does this make sense, these children will be the ones to lose! Behavioral problems and learning difficulties?Yeah bring him in to shake things up..does anyone else see something wrong with this picture! These children are already at a disadvantage and you are going to give them someone that brought a whole school down????? Forget about you egos and look out for these kids! they are the future let's invest in them ans show them that someone actually cares!!!!

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: Town Crier

Roger Jacks talks of educating the "whole" student, but yet schools are without teachers and some schools don't have the specials that research has shown is one of the best methods to support classroom learning. The district has horribly incompetent principals. We have a school motto such as, "whatever it takes". This sounds desperate and as if there is no real plan or leadership in place. This is the same incompetent principal that vitually destroyed Mt. Tipton in just one short year. So they move that failure into an elementary in town? And you all wonder why your schools are in the tank/under-performing? Get a clue Kingman! Right now it's the blind leading the blind. The real issue is the admin and the principals that are below average...even the best. Of course, that's what you get when your district hires admin based on who is friends with who. It like a frat gone bad and without the intelligent membership. GET RID OF JACKS!! Gretchen Dorner would do a much better job and would be much more efficient.

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: Throwing Up

Mr. Blanton is one of the best teachers I had at the Juhnior High when I went ther twenty some odd years ago. He will do a great job. My question is why does the school district keep shuffling these principals around. If they can't do their job fire them. The did this once before and its confusing. Send them to an A school so they can turn it into a D school.

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Most important thing we do is to educate the kids. Hey Kingman heres a little fact for you all. 10 out of 10 of the top educated states , voted for Obama and 9 out of 10 of the worst educated states voted for Rmoney. Go figure ...... Check the facts they will set you free.

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