School Admin Shuffle Begins

Melissa Bailey PhotoThe school board filled four new posts—and left two big ones open—as it launched an effort to “reorganize” top administrative staff.

The board approved four promotions at Monday night’s meeting at Hill Regional Career High School.

The promotions, effective Monday, are the first step of a reorganization that Superintendent Garth Harries came up with after taking over the school system in July. The reorganization will save money, not cost more, he said.

Damaris Rau, who was one of three people overseeing batches of city schools, won a promotion to a new position called the “executive director of schools.” She will now supervise school directors Iline Tracey and Kim Johnsky as well as continue to manage particular schools. She will also early childhood programs to her purview. Her new position carries a $2,500 raise, to $146,994.

Gemma Joseph Lumpkin will become the new “executive manager for district strategy and coordination.” That’s the new name for superintendent’s chief of staff position, which has been vacant since Leida Pacini left a year ago. Harries, who has a less top-down leadership style than his predecessor, Reginald Mayo, redefined the job to focus more on strategy.

Lumpkin, the schools’ director of leadership development, had been spearheading programs to recruit and retain talented educators, including a pioneering partnership with Achievement First charter network on a principal training program. Her new job carries a $2,300 raise to $117,869.

Dolores Garcia-Blocker (at left in photo), the district’s guidance supervisor, became the “director of college and career pathways,” responsible for the school district’s new challenge of taking responsibility for kids’ success in college and beyond. She will oversee the guidance department, talented and gifted program, alternative schools, and career and technical education. The district plans to eliminate the guidance supervisor position. Her promotion came with a $2,300 raise, up to $143,492.

Melissa Bailey File PhotoThe fourth promotion fell to Imma Canelli, the district’s assistant superintendent. Canelli will now be called the “deputy superintendent,” or Harries’ second-in-command. Canelli will be in charge of the district’s academics. It’s essentially the same job she had before, under a different name. The promotion earned her a $2,300 raise, up to $152,145.

Harries said the staff reorganization will save the district money overall. He said the raises approved Monday are more than covered by the savings achieved in the difference between Harries’ salary ($193,000) and that of his predecessor ($226,921).

Two Open Jobs

The school district is still looking to fill two top posts. One is a “chief financial officer,” a new position being created to oversee the budget after a structural deficit was discovered earlier this year.

The district plans to conduct interviews with candidates in mid-January, Harries said.

The district is also looking for a “chief talent officer” to oversee its efforts to recruit, retain and develop educators. The district proposed creating the position as part of a $53 million effort funded by the federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant. According to the terms of the grant, that position can’t be filled without the signature of the presidents of the administrators and teachers unions.

Over a year after the grant was awarded, the district has yet to come to agreement with the union presidents on who that new person would be, and what he or she would do. Harries said Monday that he did not launch a national search because he believed there was a strong internal candidate. He said he would discuss the matter with the union presidents.

“We’re all impatient to get it done,” Harries said. “This is the nature of collaboration—sometimes it takes a while to talk things through.”

Two Retirements

Also Monday, the board approved the retirements of two school administrators: Alicia Caraballo, director of adult education, and Sarah Rosner, assistant principal at Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School.

Caraballo and Rosner aren’t leaving yet. They plan to retire on June 30. They took advantage of a program that grants them a $10,000 bonus for giving the school district advance warning of their departure. The deadline to do so is the end of the year.

“Both of these folks will be missed,” and devoted years of service to the district, Harries said. He noted that more early retirements may come before the year’s end.

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posted by: CreatingUrgency on December 10, 2013  5:30pm

I wonder when people will start questioning the whole “We need to create urgency…” mantra. Does this make sense? Is there a sense of urgency in the district? Are parents banging on doors making demands?

All this movement does is create urgency…a sense that things are really wrong in education. A sense of movement keeps things in flux. What do we need to feel urgent about?

We people of New Haven have a sense of urgency when it comes to getting/keeping our jobs, housing, and safety. We have an urgency about our next paychecks being cut. We have an urgency knowing that Yale is a BILLION DOLLAR industry, yet none of that money can be used to better the city.

We feel that teachers are doing the best job they can with the meager amount of supplies they have.

posted by: NewHavenTaxTooHigh on December 10, 2013  5:54pm

Canelli will be in charge of the district’s academics. It’s essentially the same job she had before, under a different name. The promotion earned her a $9,500 raise, up to $152,145.

So, it’s essentially the same job but she’s getting paid $9,500 more! And then Superintendent Harries, et al wonder why they have a $3.7 million dollar deficit to close. It would be comedic if it weren’t so tragic.

[Editor’s correction: An original version of this story incorrectly reported that Canelli was getting a $9,500 raise. That was based on figures from the New Haven Public Schools Complete Budget Book for 2013-14, which listed her salary as $142,624 in 2012-13 and $142,624 in 2013-14. Those figures were incorrect in the budget book, according to schools staff. The budget failed to include 2.5 percent raises that non-unionized staff like Canelli and Lumpkin get every July 1 along with unionized staff like Rau and Blocker. On Monday, all promotees received comparable raises of $2,300 to $2,500.]

posted by: UBHolden on December 10, 2013  11:07pm

three jobs, almost half a million in salaries for jobs that seem to have nothing new to them other than a revised job description.  Wow!

posted by: outspoken on December 11, 2013  9:06am

Once these people leave there positions as classroom teachers and become administrators they should be getting paid less then if they stayed in the classroom.  As administrators they do little more then get in the way, making “mandatory” demands for assessments and data they use to make themselves look necessary. They continuously rob teachers of TIME they need to better serve their students.

posted by: JohnTulin on December 11, 2013  9:19am

In every one of these photos, every single one, these folks from downtown are cracking up….laughing their way to the bank.  Can they look serious once.  Can they at least appear concerned?  (Other than when it deal with their contract)

posted by: NewHavenPublic on December 11, 2013  2:20pm

Mr. Harries is most certainly a top-down leader.  He has been well groomed at how to appear to be listening to students, parents and teachers.  The reality is he has a most purposeful strategy to expand privatization of our public schools and enrich his supporters.

How does Ms. Rau feel about private operators running (formerly) public schools?

Why the need for a “Chief Talent Officer”?  Isn’t that each principal’s job?  (It isn’t if your goal is to micromanage the schools from Central Office.)

And as I’ve said before, the intention of the unnecessary “Chief Financial Officer” is to sow fear.  Harries continues the false “budget crisis” narrative and has people believing that cuts to programs are needed.  It’s pure Psych 101.

I predict there be continue to be plenty of money for his privatization plans and “hatchet” executives.

An independent audit and public disclosure is urgently needed.  We also need more voices from Central Office to share.

posted by: BubbaHere on December 12, 2013  8:48am

I disagree JohnTulin. I think it’s GREAT to see the administrators laughing and being happy especially when most every comment on almost every article on here is negative.

Furthermore,  I would take a wild guess that the people in the pictures didn’t actually take the pictures thus not knowing that you would be critiqing them for being PEOPLE!