Deardon Interview – Podcast August 7, 2023

Reflecting On 50 Years In Public Education. Karen McClelland welcomes Dennis Deardon, former superintendent of Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District, who recently retired after nearly 50 years in education.

He says, “The political landscape has certainly changed in the past few years. And these 5 years I spent – my last 5 years – in Sedona [were] very rewarding. But challenging and probably the most difficult I spent in the 50 years in education. It’s very challenging. I mean the competition with charter schools, private schools and so forth. Personally, I value competition. I think it’s good. I always told my leadership team quit talking about and worrying about the competitors. Let’s work at putting in place things that will attract students in our public schools to make us stand out.”

Reflecting on the changes, Deardon says that when he started his administration career in 1993, in his district in Colorado, they were still paddling and using corporal punishment as discipline. He notes that dress codes have changed. And, thanks to social media, the time you have to respond to a crisis has gone from 24 hours to instantaneous, so you’re almost in a reactive mode.

According to Deardon, other challenges he’s experienced include continuing changes in testing and the role of schools, as well as finding qualified teachers.

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