07/06/14 — School administrators will not change

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School administrators will not change

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 6, 2014 1:50 AM

When school lets out for the summer, it also ushers in announcements of personnel changes as retirements and moves dictate shifts among principals and assistant principals.

Not this year.

"This is the first year in 14 years that I have not had one single change in principals and assistant principals," said Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools. "I had no retirements, no transfers of either.

"That doesn't mean that nothing will happen before school starts."

One of the imminent changes on the horizon will come once the district's two newest schools are complete. Construction on the proposed Grantham and Spring Creek middle schools is targeted to be finished in time for a fall 2015 opening.

Taylor said the additional schools will necessitate the need for new administrators. That decision, however, will not be made until the end of the next school year, he said.

"We have a number of assistant principals that are interested obviously in being promoted to principalships," he said. "And I am fortunate to have a number of applicants from outside the area. We have a pretty good field of candidates to look at."

The annual reassignments are traditionally dictated by need, the superintendent said, and unless something unusual happens, are not made until after the school year is over.

"I don't arbitrarily move people around," he said. "I decided this year, since there were no retirements, no one relocating out, I didn't see any reason to move anyone administratively."

Although there haven't been a lot of shifts on the schools side, there have been several personnel changes at the central office in recent months, with three of the five members of the leadership team departing for retirement -- Dr. Craig McFadden, assistant superintendent for accountability/student services, Olivia Pierce, executive director for information and technology services, and Nan Barwick, assistant superintendent for fiscal services.

Consistency in a role is beneficial wherever the position, the superintendent said. This is especially true in the county's schools, where each surrounding community has its own personality.

"There's a definite advantage of having someone in administrative positions like at the school level for some period of time because of the relationships and connections they can build with the students and the parents and community folks," he said. "I certainly think that's a positive.

"Sometimes it's best to make some changes. But as I look at the landscape for this year, the pieces that were in place, I feel confident in keeping them (as is)."

The district is also in a holding pattern as far as hiring new teachers or issuing contracts to be signed, Taylor said.

"Right now, we're waiting to see what the General Assembly is going to do," he said, referencing the latest stalemate over state budget, teacher tenure and pay for educators. "We're kind of on hold. As we sit right now, teachers have tenure, but that 25 percent (raise) went away.

"Once the General Assembly acts, we'll implement that as quickly as possible."