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Mascenic Schools

Highbridge to keep assistant principal

Open position will no longer be year-round

GREENVILLE — After hearing the concerns of the district and further assessing the position, the Mascenic School Board has decided to keep an assistant principal at Highbridge Hill Elementary School. But it will no longer be a year-round position.

Following the July 1 resignation of Linda Kalloger, the former Highbridge Hill Elementary School Assistant Principal, the board decided to examine the position to see if it was needed. School Board members and new Superintendent Ruthann Goguen looked at enrollment numbers and school needs, and then consulted with the elementary school principal. The ultimately decided that there was indeed a need for the position.

However, Goguen suggested that if the board was looking to save costs, it would be reasonable to reduce the position from a year-round position to one that would be filled 190 days out of the year. That would include the entire school year, plus an additional two weeks.

School Board member Jim Kingston noted that the board had received several letters concerning this subject, including input from the community as well as district employees.

“We did not set out to eliminate a position,” he noted. “We set out to see if a position was needed. That’s what we’re here for.” After looking at the position, he told the board that he wouldn’t feel justified in removing that position. “I don’t think we can get rid of an assistant principal and have a clear conscience that the students would still be getting the best education,” he said.

Marion Saari, the principal at Highbridge, said that the Assistant Principal was critical in the planning stages for the upcoming year that usually occur in the summer. Also, she added, there had been a period where Kalloger, the former Assistant Principal, had been teaching a summer school class while Saari was away for a week. Saari had been uncomfortable leaving the school without an active administrator, she said, while summer school and summer programs were going on. That would occur more often if there was not a year-round assistant principal.

In addition to being a full-time assistant principal, Kalloger also received an additional stipend to manage the elementary school curriculum, said Saari. School Board member Richard Wallace noted that especially as the Mascenic School District did not have a curriculum coordinator, he felt that an assistant principal who could fill that role for Highbridge Hill, as Kalloger had in the past, would be a good thing to have.

The board expressed a desire to hire an assistant principal candidate who is experienced in curriculum. In the past, having the jobs combined had not worked well because there was not enough clarification on how much time should be committed to working on curriculum and how much should be spent being an assistant principal. Unless the jobs were separated, as was the case when Kalloger resigned the position, there would have to be clearer expectations.

The position states the responsibilities of the new assistant principal will include curriculum development, supervision and evaluation of staff, student assessment, monitoring of student progress and communications and community relations. The School Board will meet next on Aug. 5 at 6 p.m. in the Mascenic Education Center in Greenville.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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