The Mark McKinney era has officially begun. Hopefully it will last a lot longer than that of his predecessor, Hank Richardson, a capable school district head who seemed to be at the right place but at the wrong time.



It's important to note that McKinney's official appointment to Hesperia Unified School District superintendent was made by three of the five members on the district's board of trustees. School board president Dr. Robert Kirk and board members Lee Rogers and Hardy Black were in favor, while board members Helen Rogers and Bruce Minton for reasons we don't yet know voted against. After the decision, however, only Minton's signature was not on McKinney's contract. Perhaps more about Minton's reason for not signing McKinney's contract will surface later.



McKinney's appointment certainly appears to be a good one. He began teaching in Hesperia 20 years ago, teaching fourth, fifth and sixth grades at Mesa Grande Elementary School. He later served as principal of Joshua Circle and Mesquite Trails. That hands-on experience in Hesperia schools has helped this father of four earn the respect of his peers.



On the surface it appears McKinney's biggest challenge is to lead the school district through the state budget-related financial difficulties. While that's certainly at the top of his official to-do list, he must also promote the smooth operation of a school district under the cast of a school board recall drive. McKinney, or anyone in his position, must work with all parties, even while the factions line up on divergent sides of a recall issue.



McKinney's tenure is beginning with a much different tone than Hank Richardson's. As a previous assistant superintendent of personnel services, Richardson was in the unique position of helping decide who was hired or fired. Also as the district's personnel director, Richardson presided over difficult teacher contract negotiations. Perhaps that role haunted him after he was named to the top school district post. McKinney, on the other hand, had served as director of personnel for a shorter period than did Richardson, just serving in that capacity since 2006.



Mark McKinney seems to be the right person in the right place at the right time. We certainly wish him well in leading the school district through challenging days ahead.