District 51 shuffles administrative duties


New titles for some administrators

■ Bill Larsen: formerly executive director of high schools, now chief academic officer

■ Mary Jones: formerly executive director of middle schools, now director of academic achievement and growth (secondary schools)

■ Andrew Laase: formerly executive director of elementary schools, now executive director of academic achievement and growth (elementary schools)

■ Jody Mimmack: formerly executive director of instructional support, now executive director of academic achievement and growth (curriculum)

■ Lesley Rose: formerly assistant director of elementary schools, now director of priority schools

Some School District 51 executives have new titles and duties after a recent reorganization of central administration.

The old structure placed Superintendent Steve Schultz in charge of executive directors of elementary, middle and high schools; an assistant director of elementary schools; and an executive director of instructional support, among other positions. Directors focused on schools in a particular grade level and handled planning activities and complaints that came to them from school administrators.

The new structure, according to Schultz, sends executive directors into schools to ask principals what help they need instead of waiting for principals to report to the directors. Executive directors of academic achievement and growth in secondary schools, elementary schools, “priority” schools and curriculum will work under a chief academic officer who used to be the executive director of high schools. The new positions require the directors to split up a list of schools and coach and mentor school administrators at the five to 12 schools each of them is responsible for overseeing.

School administrators will coach teachers more beginning this year with the district’s early implementation of Senate Bill 191, which requires Colorado principals and assistant principals to evaluate every teacher in their schools at least once each year. Newer teachers had been evaluated twice a year in District 51, and teachers with non-probationary status, which is like tenure, had been evaluated once every three years.

Schultz said central administration duties were reorganized to focus on coaching more than a “bureaucratic hierarchy,” a move prompted by implementation of Senate Bill 191 and other bills that alter curriculum standards, revise standardized testing and require struggling schools to follow improvement plans.

“It’s not that we think (teachers and principals) aren’t capable, we just need more hands on deck,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is take the resources we have and focus them on students. It’s not a promotion.”

Schultz said the changes are not related to a $5.7 million district budget cut for the 2012-13 school year. Cuts included the elimination of four positions in central administration. Duties from three of those positions have been absorbed by administrative departments and one job, director of transportation, grounds and building use, has been divided between District 51 Safety Coordinator Tim Leon, who took on transportation; District 51 Athletics and Activities Director Paul Cain, who oversees grounds as well; and District 51 Director of Maintenance and Operations Cal Clark, who is now in charge of building use in addition to his other duties.


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