School Dist. 51 administration reorganizes
By Kathleen Goddeyne
School District 51 made some changes to their administration for the 2012-13 school year. In order to align with the implementation of Senate Bill 191, which requires principals and assistant principals to evaluate every teacher yearly, the district refocused their efforts on student achievement.
Administrators with new titles and duties include Bill Larsen, Mary Jones, Andrew Laase, Jody Mimmack, and Lesely Rose. Larsen, formerly executive director of high schools, will now be the chief academic officer and will oversee executive directors. Jones, the former executive director of middle schools, will be the director of academic achievement and growth for secondary schools and Laase, the former executive director of elementary schools, will be the executive director of academic achievement and growth for elementary schools. Mimmack, the former executive director of instructional support will be executive director of academic achievement and growth in curriculum and Rose, the former assistant director of elementary schools will now be the director of priority schools.
Executive directors of achievement and growth, working under the chief academic officer, will go to schools they oversee and ask principals what they need to better their school and students. The idea is that the directors will act as coaches or mentors to the school administrators.
“It’s more about flexibility and support by mentoring and coaching
the system while being more actively engaged,” said Christy McGee, Public Information Officer for School District 51.
The reorganization of responsibilities and the $5.7 million district budget cut for the 2012-13 school year are not connected. After cutting four positions from the district administration saving roughly $400,000 earlier this year, the duties of the cut positions were absorbed into other positions in the district.
Senate Bill 191 prompted the change, but District 51 took it a step further and has an evaluation system for teachers and principals. Principals will conduct yearly evaluations for non-probationary teachers and will evaluate newer teachers on probation period twice a year. The old system of evaluations only required non-probationary teachers to be evaluated every three years and newer teachers to be evaluated once a year.
“Everyone is going to have a formal evaluation. The evaluations will be much more detailed than a checklist. We need to be working with the teachers and supporting them. This is meant to help teachers do well and will help us identify what we need,” said Steve Schultz, Superintendent for School District 51.
Principals and assistant principals will also be evaluated by executive directors to ensure quality of learning in our district.
“It puts the focus a lot more on kids. Teachers need to support them, principals need to support teachers, directors need to support principals, and the schools have to provide them with what they need. Ultimately, it’s all to support the kids,” said McGee