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Mason City Schools Interim Superintendent to move to Arizona to lead Flagstaff schools


This news story was published on March 28, 2017.
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Michael Penca

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA – Flagstaff Unified School District Governing Board announced that they have entered into negotiations with Mr. Michael Penca for the position of Flagstaff Unified School District Superintendent. He is expected to start July 3, 2017.

Michael Penca currently serves as the Interim Superintendent of the Mason City Community School District and is responsible for leadership of the educational programs serving over 3700 students and 600 staff. Prior to his appointment to the superintendent position in June 2016, Michael served the district for twenty years as a teacher, elementary principal and district administrator. His district leadership experiences include responsibility for special education programs, Title I and literacy supports, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and continuous improvement efforts. Michael has earned degrees from the University of Iowa (B.S.), Iowa State University (M.A.) and Drake University (Ed.S.). He is licensed for the superintendent position in the state of Iowa and is currently completing his dissertation at Drake University to earn a doctorate degree in Education Leadership.

Mr. Penca is a member of professional organizations and is active in district and community events. He currently serves on the United Way of North Central Iowa board and Early Childhood Iowa board. Michael is a member of the River City Kiwanis and Mason City Noon Rotary. His wife, Kristine, is a teacher and coach for the Mason City Community School District. They have two grown children currently attending colleges in Minneapolis and Iowa City, and enjoy spending time together riding bicycles and walking their dogs.

When contacted Mr. Penca stated, “I am excited for the opportunity to serve the Flagstaff Unified School District and community as superintendent. The Governing Board’s inclusion of students, staff and community into the interview process demonstrates its commitment to provide an excellent education for every FUSD student. My wife and I appreciate the welcome we received and look forward to making Flagstaff our home”.

Flagstaff Unified School District says it “looks forward to welcoming Mr. and Mrs. Penca to our community this summer.”

Last week, the Flagstaff Unified School District invited the community to meet the two final candidates for the position of Superintendent of Schools. There was a community forum on Wednesday March 22 in the Sinagua Middle School Auditorium in Flagstaff.

Mr. Penca was paid $163,000 this school year as the Interim Superintendent of Mason City Schools. His wife, Kris, who also works for Mason City schools, was paid $67,210.65 in the 2014-2015 school year.  Dave Versteeg was selected last year for the job of Superintendent of Schools in Mason City, leading Mr. Penca to seek other opportunities.

Mr. Penca topped Frank Chiapetti of Gallup, New Mexico, for the Flagstaff job that may have its share of trials and challenges.  According to the district’s social media page, at least 5 notes have been found in school bathrooms just this month promising violence on a “Columbine” scale.

The Flagstaff Police Department says that “on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, an additional (5th), note was located by a staff member at Flagstaff High School. The note was located in the girl’s bathroom. The note alluded to threats made in a previous note. Flagstaff Unified School District and Flagstaff High School are working closely with police to attempt to identify the person(s) responsible for these threatening notes. The Flagstaff Police Department has increased patrols and security in schools throughout Flagstaff.  On 3-8-17, a student found a note in a boy’s bathroom of Flagstaff High School. This is the first note reported to have been found. It provided a warning indicating there would be a shootout. On 3-9-17 a second note was found in a girl’s bathroom of Flagstaff High School. This note indicated there would be a “Columbine” type incident the next day or sometime in March. On 3- 20-17 a third note was found in a girl’s bathroom of Flagstaff High School. This note alluded to the date of April 20th which is the anniversary of Columbine. On 3-23-17 a fourth note was found by school staff while the building was being cleaned. It mentioned the previous notes. This incident is under investigation as a crime.”

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15 Responses to Mason City Schools Interim Superintendent to move to Arizona to lead Flagstaff schools

  1. Avatar

    Clear Reply Report comment

    March 30, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Penca is arrogant to teachers. ANITA TRAINED him. Ask the teachers. Our school board listened to us those that see him daily at work. Guess how many schools turned him down? SEVERAL . Board President of Flagstaff said he has weaknesses. Other board member said lets start over. He barely got this job. Our board new what they didnt see and so did several others. He lucked out. Hope he changes and learns hoe to be a leader and builds something for them. He did not here.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 31, 2017 at 10:00 am

      You speak as though you are a teacher. Your grammar, spelling and punctuation say otherwise.

      • Avatar

        Clear Reply Report comment

        March 31, 2017 at 6:32 pm

        Other staff at schools besides teachers.

  2. Avatar

    cockroach Reply Report comment

    March 30, 2017 at 11:04 am

    He will be back as soon as the NIACC presidents job opens up!

    • Avatar

      Nada Racist Reply Report comment

      March 30, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      No one moves back to MC. Once people escape they stay away for good.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Mason City’s loss and Flagstaff”s gain. Happy for Mike and his family.

  4. Avatar

    cockroach Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 10:08 am

    If you read the article Flagstaff did not hire their interim superintendent either.

    • Avatar

      John Reply Report comment

      March 29, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Cockroach, if you would do your research, they did not consider the interim Superintendent because he withdrew his name for consideration.

    • Avatar

      John Reply Report comment

      March 29, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      Mason City loses big time with this one, but I am happy for Mike and his wife. He is a good person and will be making much more money there than he would here. I wish him the best.

  5. Avatar

    Dick Neely Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Good for him and his family. You have to strike when the iron is hot, and he did. Best of luck.

  6. Avatar

    Neo Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Not necessarily connected to Penca. BUT. The house over on South Penn NEEDED to be CLEANED. Micich & Jeffries rot permeated. Secrecy. Graft. Laziness. Entitlement. Delusions of grandeur. CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? Where is the AUDIT? We might know how deep the rabbit hole goes someday. A new CULTURE is being put in place.

  7. Avatar

    Nada Racist Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Very happy for the Penca’s getting the opportunity to leave dried up and dying MC behind them. A community that doesn’t want progress loses its best people and retains the worst.

  8. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Great job Mason City. You let another good one get away and brought in a unknown person to replace him. All that time and money spent training him and now someone else gets the benefit.

  9. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 2:03 am

    there you go again, the fine city of mason city once again goes outside to get the top dog. first police chief then fire chief and now chief of our kids, really gives employees making a career something to look forward to. why work your butt off and advance up the ladder only to be kicked back down. Come on Mason City wake up

  10. Avatar

    swamp thing Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Good for him. I went to NAU, and loved it in flagstaff. Not sure what to think about the notes found hopefully its a cry for attention, and not an actual threat.