The Lake Havasu Unified School District’s governing board met with five applicants to fill the district’s vacant superintendent position.

The district has been without a superintendent since 2015, when the position was left vacant by former superintendent Gail Malay.

The district has operated effectively without a superintendent for the past year, board members said in January, but the district will need an appointed leader to move the forward. The Board began interviewing candidates for the position on Wednesday.

The Lake Havasu Unified School District is expected to select from these applicants within the next several months. Thunderbolt Middle School principal Mary Jo Mulligan is the only local contender.

The finalists include:

Name: Mari Jo Mulligan

New school year, new principals

Mari Jo Mulligan,right, Principal, Thunderbolt Middle School. Jackie Leatherman/News-Herald Photo

From: Lake Havasu City

Current position: Thunderbolt Middle School principal

Mari Jo Mulligan has been the acting principal at Thunderbolt middle school for the past five years. Mulligan taught middle school classes in Phoenix for 10 years prior, and worked for two years as community liaison for an Arizona hospice organization.

Mulligan polished her leadership skills throughout her career, and believes that she has the skills and local knowledge to thrive in the position of superintendent.

Name: Diana Asseier

From: Riverside, Calif.

Current position: Chief Academic Officer, Associate Superintendent of Educational Services for Riverside County Office of Education and Riverside County Superintendent of Schools

Asseier brings her experience in Riverside, Calif, where she helps to oversee 430,000 California students.

Asseier and her district have adapted through financial crisis and evaporating budgets in California during recent years, and remains involved in all discussions and recommendations through the Riverside county superintendent’s office.

Name: Louis E. Laffitte

From: Laveen, Ariz.

Current Position: Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum in Maricopa County, adjunct professor for Grand Canyon University in Phoenix

Laffitte has been an educator for more than 20 years. Laffitte has a doctorate in education, a master’s degree in special education and rehabilitation and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Laffitte began his career in Tucson and a principal at Brunson-Lee Elementary School in Phoenix, and has since held positions as principal, guidance counselor and other positions in education throughout Arizona.

Name: Cherryl Paul

From: Glendale, Ariz.

Current Position: Director of Deer Valley Unified School District

Cherryl Paul has worked for the Deer Valley Unified School District for 16 years, and has won more than a dozen awards from her district and the state of Arizona for her work there.

Paul serves as director of the Deer Valley Unified School District, and worked for the past five years with teachers to develop and deploy a school improvement process that was given statewide recognition from the Southwest Alliance for Excellence.

Name: Anthony J. Habra

From: Paw Paw, Mich.

Current position: Superintendent, Paw Paw Public Schools

Habra is superintendent over public schools in Paw Paw, Mich. He has master’s degrees in educational administration and educational guidance counseling, with a bachelor’s degree in social studies education.

Habra also served as superintendent of Rudyard area schools in Rudyard, Michigan. His career spans more than 20 years, including other positions such as principal, special education counselor and social studies teacher for the Tucson Unified School District in 1994.


(8) comments


Congratulations to Mari Jo on becoming the new Superintendent. We all know your going to get picked

Third Eye

There is no Cherryl Lane....


When are you people going to understand that the best way to fill a position as we have here at the present time is to HIRE from outside the area, We don't need another "good ole guys club" to happen again, We need a person with NEW ideas and a fresh outlook, not a person who works for the district and can keep all of their friends in their pockets. When will you ever learn?


Cherryl Lane looks like the best candidate. Mulligan looks like 4th best candidate, Mulligan would be a huge mistake. I subbed over at Thunderbolt a few times and never wanted to go back, it was a disaster working there.


Thunderbolt is an awesome school and is thriving!


No, its not. If it is thriving, why are so many teachers leaving?

see you

I agree, pick someone who hasn't been jaded by the "old girls club" at LHSD. I also don't see how its any of our business who the contenders are? Its not a contest that the public decides albeit it is our money that will pay their salary. I didn't know we post everyone's name and short bio who is being thought of for the job. What purpose does this serve?

Charles R M

The district would be smart to select someone from the outside, but I doubt seriously it will happen.

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