March 27, 2015 / Modified mar 27, 2015 3:08 p.m.

Holmes named Sunnyside School Superintendent

3-2 board vote means assistant superintendent in TUSD will return to district in which he grew up.

Holmes news conf 032715 spotlight Steven Holmes, newly named superintendent of Sunnyside Unified School District, at a March 27, 2015 news conference.
Sunnyside schools

This story has been updated and corrected. from its original version.

Steven Holmes was named superintendent of Tucson's Sunnyside Unified School District Thursday night.

The Sunnyside school board voted 3-2 to offer the job to Holmes. The other finalist was Manuel Valenzuela, superintendent of the Sahuarita Unified School District south of Tucson.

"We feel Mr. Holmes exemplifies the values of the Sunnyside community," school board President Daniel Hernandez Jr. said in an emailed statement. Hernandez voted with board members Buck Crouch and Eva Carrillo Dong to hire Holmes. Board members Eric Giffin and Becki Quintero voted no.

Holmes, who will start at Sunnyside July 1, has been assistant superintendent for curriculum in the Tucson Unified School District for the last two years. He has spent most of his 20-year career in TUSD, starting as a teacher, and he served as assistant superintendent for curriculum in Sunnyside from 2009 to 2013.

He grew up and attended schools in the Sunnyside district and earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Arizona. He also earned a master's degree from Harvard University.

Sunnyside offered Holmes a three-year contract at $150,000 a year, plus the potential for a bonus of up to $6,000 based on performance, according to the contract district officials distributed Friday. He also will receive an automobile allowance and a "business and civic activity allowance" of $600 a month.

Holmes and Valenzuela met with the community in forums this week. The board met in closed session Thursday evening for more than four hours to discuss the two candidates before taking a public vote on Holmes' appointment.

Holmes will take charge of a district that has seen dramatic leadership changes in the last 12 months. Two board members were recalled by voters in May and less than a month later, Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo was bought out of his contract.

Assistant Superintendent Eugenia Favela has run the district in the interim.

MORE: News, Tucson
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