Gatto backs out of commitment to Whittell |

Gatto backs out of commitment to Whittell

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Mario Gatto, in his second year as principal of Whittell High School, will not return next school year because he will be working in Fairbanks, Alaska, a a principal.

Gatto announced his decision earlier this month to Douglas County School District officials. Whittell has a reputation for having a principal merry-go-round. Gatto was the first administrative head to return for a second year since the 1999-2000 school year.

When he got the job before the 2001-02 school year he made a three- to five-year commitment to the small school.

He came from Mesquite, Nev., where he was principal at Virgin Valley Junior/Senior High School.

Gatto declined to comment.

Rich Alexander, assistant superintendent for human resources, said the district was remorseful in accepting the resignation. Interviews will be conducted next month for the position, Alexander said, adding about six people have sent in applications thus far.

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The job will pay between $62,019 and $76,444 depending on experience and education.

Alexander alluded that the timing of the resignation made the district unable to post the principalship in trade periodicals and put the hiring process on an unfortunate fast track.

Alexander said the district would like to find a candidate who will commit themselves to the school of a couple hundred students.

“It’s not a positive thing for the school,” Alexander said about another principal change for the school. “We want to find somebody who’s willing to commit some time, some years. We believe that school deserves consistent leadership.”

Douglas County School District board President David Brady said Gatto was a “real asset to the school.”

“It’s a difficult job up there,” he said. “Running that school is a difficult task evidenced by the fact we have had quite a turnover in site leadership at the school.”