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story.lead_photo.caption FILE — Matthew Wendt (center), the superintendent of Fayetteville Public Schools, speaks Thursday, July 28, 2016, during the Board of Education meeting at the Adams Leadership Center in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Superintendent Matthew Wendt is searching for a deputy or associate superintendent to oversee people in the School District, one of three divisions that will be in place for the 2017-18 school year.

Wendt outlined plans to reorganize the district's central administration Wednesday during a Fayetteville School Board work session.

Fayetteville deputy or associate superintendent for administration

Duties and responsibilities

• Assists in determining the types of programs needed by schools and making recommendations

• Plays significant role in fostering professional growth and building staff morale throughout the district

• Assume duties of superintendent when superintendent is absent from the district

• Maintains connections with social, professional, civic, volunteer and other community agenices with an interest in schools

• Develops and propose revisions to and new student and personnel policies

• Leads the committee to review and recommend to School Board all student expulsions

• Assists in development and coordination of budgets pertaining to curriculum and instruction and other departments under his or her supervision

• Plans and implements strategies to provide safety at all schools

Source: Fayetteville School District

The plan includes eliminating some director positions and making changes to other positions. The plan doesn't require additional money but involves moving money, he said.

Wendt plans for three divisions, led by two associate superintendents already in place and the deputy or associate superintendent to be hired. The title will depend on the candidate, Wendt said.

Steven Weber will continue as the associate superintendent for teaching and learning. John L. Colbert will continue as associate superintendent overseeing operations, such as maintenance, custodians and food service.

The new deputy or associate superintendent will oversee departments related to people, including human resources and student services, Wendt said. The deputy or associate superintendent for administration also will have a role with proposing revised or new policies, developing and coordinating budgets, and planning and implementing plans for school safety.

Wendt thinks he likely will have three associate superintendents, but he's open to having a deputy to be the district's No. 2 official, he said. The district this school year has about 9,860 students.

The discussion reminded School Board member Tim Hudson of conversations the board had last spring during the interview process with Wendt when he mentioned a desire to assemble a team.

"Our job is to hire and evaluate and supervise and retain our superintendent," Hudson said. "I appreciate the time you've been with us that you've been looking and thinking and listening instead of coming and saying on Day 2 you need to change all the dotted lines."

The division of teaching and learning will have a layer of leadership under Weber with an executive director of elementary and middle level education and an executive director of secondary education. The principals of the campuses also will fit in that layer.

Directors of various departments related to academics will serve under them, but Wendt is eliminating the positions of directors of math, literacy, science and social science, he said.

The director of math position has been vacant this school year, and the other three employees will have the option stay with the School District, he said.

Having one person focused, for example, on spanning from fourth-grade science to organic chemistry doesn't work, Wendt said.

"This is not about the person," Wendt said. "These are great, competent caring people."

The elimination of the directors will come with changes to the role of the roughly 20 instructional facilitators in the district, he said. They have focused primarily on coaching teachers, but Wendt plans for them to become school interventionists. Their pay will remain the same.

Their focus will shift to academic achievement, which means primarily working with students. Instructional facilitators will continue to have a working relationship with a few teachers, he said.

Some of the district's students who are struggling the most are now pulled out of classrooms led by certified teacher to work with classroom aides, Wendt said. The classroom aides are competent, caring adults, but the time with the classroom aides means time away from some of the district's most highly educated employees.

"We have to reshuffle that," Wendt said. "You're going to work with kids. Keep your job. Work in a school that you're in right now. We want you to report and be supervised by the chief academic officer of the school."

The district has had vacancies for chief financial officer and executive director of information systems. Wendt instead plans to hire a director of finance and business services at a reduced salary. The director will be in district leadership but will not be part of the superintendent's executive team, he said.

The role of executive director of information systems will be divided into a director of information systems and technology, with oversight of operations and systems, and a director of professional development and training, who will direct the integration of technology into classrooms, according to a news release sent Wednesday night.

Wendt's plans for the division of teaching and learning appear aimed at supporting principals in focusing on academics, School Board member Susan Heil said.

"We need to focus on every student and how they're taught and how they're learning," she said.

Heil thinks the shift in the role of instructional facilitators and their work with principals will allow for more customized programs for students, she said.

"It's repurposing people," Heil said. "We do have a great and talented staff. We want them here."

NW News on 04/06/2017

Print Headline: Wendt discusses changes to district administration

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