Portland schools to add 2 Central Office administrators

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PORTLAND — The School Board last week unanimously approved adding two administrative positions to the Central Office.

Newly hired Superintendent of Schools  Emmanuel Caulk called the two positions critical and said they will help the School Department be responsive to students, parents and businesses.

“What we’re looking at is our organization as it is, but we’re also looking at it from a lens as it should be,” he said. “(These positions are a) strategic way to engage our families to support our schools.”

A deputy chief of shared accountability would monitor whether the district is on track with its goals using concrete data on student achievement. Funding for the $102,500 salary will come from the elimination of two other administrative positions: humanities curriculum director and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curriculum coordinator.

The other position, coordinator of parent and community engagement, would work to involve parents in decisions by looking at data and strategies, but also looking at aligning the budget with academic and non-academic resources to increase student achievement. Grant money from the Nellie Mae Foundation will support the $82,500 salary.

“These two positions were really some of the foundational pieces of why I was in support of hiring Mr. Caulk,” District 5 representative Marnie Morrione said. “In the past – this will be my fourth year – when we asked why we were making a certain decision, we were often given blank stares and/or ‘we’ll get back to you.’ Making decisions based on data is so critical and so fundamental to going out into the public (and telling them) why something was decided on. If we don’t have data to support it, we’re really grasping at straws.”

Mark Usinger, whose son is a student at Deering High School, said that while he supports parent engagement, administrators are not the ones who are educating and molding his son into the person that he is going to be. He said that there is not endless money in the pockets of Portland’s citizens for more high-level administrators in the district.

Hiring recommendations for the two positions are expected by the end of the month.

Amber Cronin can be reached at acronin@theforecaster.net or 781-3661 ext. 125. Follow her on Twitter @croninamber.