VISD eliminates one assistant superintendent position, adds 6 other jobs

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

April 28, 2013 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated April 28, 2013 at 11:29 p.m.

The leadership in the Victoria school district will be dramatically different next school year.

As he prepares to enter his second year as superintendent, Robert Jaklich has restructured the district's administration office.

The changes are aimed at streamlining and improving curriculum, instruction and accountability across the board, he said.

"That's what we hired him to do," said Victoria school board President Tami Keeling. "We have curriculum and instruction needs in the district."

The two high schools' academically unacceptable ratings and some elementary schools' failure to meet adequate yearly progress standards are some of the reasons the district needs a firmer focus on curriculum, Keeling said.

The elimination of the two assistant superintendent positions and the creation of six new administrative roles has created at least three opening for principals at VISD campuses.

Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education Nancy McCord said she plans to retire at the end of the school year. Mima Gonzalez, the assistant superintendent for elementary education, said she had no plans for retirement.

"Mrs. Gonzalez is doing an outstanding job for our district, and we're working with her to develop exactly how we're going to be using her expertise," Jaklich said.

No money will be taken out of the instructional budget for next year in connection with the growth of personnel in the central administration office, the superintendent said.

About $500,000 for the six new positions will be provided from additional funding generated by the district's improved average daily attendance. Average attendance increased by more than 50 students daily, or a 1 percentage point jump from the previous year, Jaklich said. State funding flows to school districts based on the number of students attending classes.

"Our budgets are great, and they're healthy," he said.

Under the new restructuring, Mitchell Guidance Center Principal Trey Edwards will be the district's executive director of administration, serving as the superintendent's right-hand man. He has worked as a middle school teacher and coach, assistant principal, coordinator of student services and principal.

"I have had the great fortune to be able to spend my entire educational career with the VISD, beginning my journey as a student teacher," Edwards wrote in an emailed response.

Stroman Middle School Principal Lisa Cortez will take on a new role in the human resources department as professional director.

Cortez's background in instructional administration will improve understanding between the human resources department and district employees, Jaklich said. She has worked 21 years in the district in positions ranging from elementary to high school.

"This has prepared me and will aid me in the recruitment of the most highly qualified staff for the district," Cortez wrote in an emailed statement. "Our students and schools deserve the best teachers and staff we can find."

Two new associate director positions will be filled by a high school principal and an elementary school principal.

Previously, the assistant superintendent positions were divided by secondary and elementary education.

These two new curriculum, instruction and accountability director positions will mirror that division.

Sherri Hathaway, currently the principal at Liberty Academy, said she will use her experience from working in both middle and high schools in her new position as the associate director of secondary curriculum.

"We have to meet the needs of every student, not only the ones who may seem 'easy' to teach but the ones who do need more assistance," Hathaway wrote in an emailed statement.

Smith Elementary School Principal Carol Tippins said she's looking forward to her transition into her new role as the associate director of elementary curriculum.

"My experience and perspective give me the planning and support tools that are needed to work out the kinks so that campus staff can focus on delivery of quality instruction for our students," Tippins wrote in an emailed statement.

The superintendent also created two new curriculum coordinator positions to be filled by Elise Tate and Linda Winters, who will focus on improving science and English language arts instruction.

Previously, the current curriculum coordinators each managed two subject matters for the district, but the superintendent said the administration needs each person to focus on one subject.



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