Whittell may cut vice principal post
Is George Whittell High School downsizing?
Well, not really.
But to save money and increase the number of course offerings at the school, the superintendent of Douglas County schools has recommended the elimination of Susan Grady’s vice-principal/athletic director position.
The vice principalship will be replaced by a part-time teacher who would also act as athletic director.
“Whittell is the only small school in the district to have a vice principal – we’re spending a lot on administration there,” said Superintendent Pendery Clark. “I feel this is the most effective use of resources and a part-time teacher will enhance academic offerings.”
Clark said the job changes will be included in April’s budget proposal.
Grady has worked for the district for the past 21 years in various capacities, including teaching at Douglas High School and serving as district program assistant for student support activities.
She has been vice-principal at Whittell since the position was created five years ago.
“We’ve made a lot of good changes here at Whittell in recent years,” said Grady. “(Principal) Dave Sheets and I have really worked as a team – I don’t know if that was confusing to parents or not.”
All administrative duties will now go to the school’s new principal, said Sheets, who will retire in June.
“Whoever takes my position as principal next year will face a difficult task,” Sheets said. “The most time-consuming extra duties will be attendance and discipline – those take up a considerable amount of Susan’s time now.”
The new principal also faces the implementation of new competencies dictated by the district’s Strategic Plan, Sheets said, whereby students will be held accountable for specific academic achievements or they won’t graduate.
Grady said she will apply for the principalship Sheets is vacating in June.
However, if she does not get the job, Clark has encouraged Grady to apply for the new teacher/athletic director position.
“Or I might consider another vice principalship in the valley should one open up,” said Grady. “But unfortunately there aren’t any opportunities for a lateral transfer at the lake.”
Several longtime teachers who preferred to remain anonymous said they didn’t think the absence of a vice principal would affect faculty to any significant degree.
“I’ve been here over 20 years and we’ve only had a vice principal for five,” said one. “It might change things for administrators, but I don’t think it will make a big difference to teachers.”
But Grady said she thinks the position has enabled teachers to focus on teaching, not other issues outside the classroom.
“I think (the job elimination) is more of a programs and curriculum issue than a money issue – the school will get two or three more periods of instruction,” said Grady. “But it’s sad. I moved my family up here three years ago and I’m very committed to Whittell. I like the size of the school and I enjoy the community.”
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