District 51 hires new principals for two spots

District 51 School Board members approved the hiring of two new principals Tuesday night.

Pat Chapin, principal of Gateway School and Grande River Virtual Academy, will take over as principal of the Career Center this fall and Jason Plantiko, an assistant principal at Fruita 8/9 School, will become the 8/9 school’s principal in 2012-13. The district will post a principal job opening in Gateway today, according to District 51 Superintendent Steve Schultz, and a replacement plan for Chapin at the helm of the virtual academy is in the works. An assistant principal job opening at Fruita 8/9 School was posted Friday on the district’s employment web page.

Career Center Principal Dean Blair and Fruita 8/9 Principal Cristal Loehr are retiring this summer. Chapin, who once taught horticulture at the Career Center, said he hopes to continue Blair’s work and ensure career training programs at the center meet job market demands. Plantiko told School Board members he wants to improve his school and internal staff development.

Earlier in Tuesday night’s meeting, board members discussed impending implementation of new, statewide evaluation procedures for teachers and principals. Senate Bill 191, approved by state legislators in 2010, requires all Colorado school districts to evaluate teachers and school administrators at least once each year starting in fall 2013. Districts can follow a state board of education-approved rubric for those evaluations or create their own evaluation system as long as it follows key requirements, such as basing at least half of an educator’s evaluation on student growth on standardized tests. Evaluation systems must be ready by July 1, 2013.

District 51 leaders and teachers met last week to discuss the evaluation implementation. District 51 Executive Director of Instructional Support Jody Mimmack, who facilitated last week’s discussion, told School Board members the group set priorities for communication surrounding implementation this summer, including staff email updates. A staff work group will be selected and begin work July 1 on guiding the Senate Bill 191 implementation process and principals will get a refresher on the bill’s implementation in August, Mimmack said.


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