Superintendent’s contract OKed by Douglas school district |

Superintendent’s contract OKed by Douglas school district

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. – “Hallelujah!” came the call from of interim superintendent John Soderman on Wednesday night.

The exclamation came immediately after Douglas County School Board members voted unanimously to approve a 12-page contract for superintendent finalist Lisa Noonan, 49. Although the former chief academic officer of Washoe County Schools wasn’t at the meeting and still has to sign her name in ink, Soderman’s outburst exemplified the sense of relief and joy in the district that a top officer has been chosen and locked in after a long and sometimes exhausting superintendent search.

“I’m honored to have served the district,” Soderman said. “I’m glad for Lisa. She gets to step into a great district.”

Noonan’s $130,000-a-year contract starts July 30 and ends June 30, 2013, and it includes fringe benefits such as medical, dental and vision insurance as well as full payment of contributions into the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System. Trustees also agreed to pay Noonan a one-time lump sum of $10,000 for relocation expenses.

She was paid $177,000 in salary and benefits in Washoe County.

After almost an hour and a half of closed session negotiations with Noonan via telephone, section 4 of the contract was amended to reflect a January 15, 2013, deadline for renewal notification. Compared to former superintendent Carol Lark’s contract, which required renewal notification a year before the expiration date, Noonan’s contract gives trustees another six months to make a decision whether or not to extend.

In the event that Noonan is terminated without cause, the contract states that the district will pay her a lump sum equal to nine months of her annual salary.

Section 8 also states that trustees “may require Noonan to participate in a mentoring program by a person or persons of the trustees’ choosing at the beginning of the term of this agreement and/or at other times and periods in their discretion, in order that Noonan might improve her performance as superintendent of schools.”

Despite such safeguards written in the contract, board members were overwhelmingly optimistic about Noonan and the impact she’ll have on the school district.

Trustee Sharla Hales said she’s excited about the possibilities of a new superintendent “who is extremely well-qualified and, in all respects, looks to be a promising chief officer.”

Vice President Tom Moore, who voted against the initial hiring of Noonan but later gave her a vote of support, said he’s ready to move forward.

“Lisa can start leading the district in the direction that she and the board feel is in the best interest of the Douglas County School District,” he said.

Trustee Cindy Trigg said Wednesday’s decision was bittersweet.

“I’m looking forward to putting the past behind us,” she said, “and to start doing the work for our kids.”

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