The 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.
The 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.”
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.