After seven years as Gilbert schools superintendent, Brad Barrett announced he is leaving the district next year at the end of his contract. Barrett made the announcement Tuesday at the Gilbert Unified School District’s board meeting while reading a 2 1/2-page statement.
“They say it is an art, not a science, to know the appropriate time to leave a job,” said Barrett, who will continue working until June 30. “I have never, ever considered any of my positions in the 37 years I have been in public education, a ‘job.’ It seems I have been on a long mission, and my superintendency in Gilbert public schools has only been one of many satisfying parts of that mission.”
The 60-year-old has been the superintendent of the Gilbert Unified School District since July 2001.
Before that, he had been superintendent of the Kyrene Elementary School District since 1993. He also worked 14 years in the Gilbert district before going to Kyrene.
In his statement, he cited the average tenure of a school superintendent as 2.7 years. Since he was hired seven years ago, he said he has been on “borrowed time since noon of Sept. 11, 2003.”
“A little piece of information like that has made a tough decision like this a little more peaceful,” Barrett said. “So I intend to continue my mission as I consider pursuing other challenging opportunities.”
He said he’s not sure what he’ll do next, but he has a couple of offers he’s considering.
Gilbert board member Helen Hollands, who is in her seventh year on the board, said her first significant action was helping to choose Barrett as superintendent.
“Certainly I’m happy for him that he’s made such an important decision in his life,” Hollands said. “Certainly the district has benefited with having him in this position.”
She said Barrett was the “perfect” fit to lead the district because of his “innovative ideas” coupled with a “deep understanding” of Gilbert culture.
“I think he has been a wonderful leader for the district and certainly has taken us to a new level,” Hollands said.
Barrett said leaving the district will be a “storybook ending to a fabulous 37-year ride.”
His five children were educated in the Gilbert district, and he now has two grandchildren there.
Barrett said he made the decision a year ago to leave. He wanted to give the district enough time to find a new superintendent.
“One of the hallmarks of a great organization is that its greatness outlasts its leaders,” he said. “With firm conviction and clarity of voice I can assure the governing board that this district is prepared for a new leader to take it to new levels on the continuum of greatness.”
The district will begin a search for a new superintendent. Hollands said she expects a decision won’t be made until late winter or early spring.