Pickerington Times-Sun

Walker: Administrator likely not to named this school year

In the interim, the assistant superintendent's position is expected to be filled internally


The Pickerington Local School District likely won't hire a full-time replacement for outgoing assistant superintendent Jim Sotlar before the end of this school year, the district's top administrator said last week.

Superintendent Rob Walker Nov. 30 said he will recommend that the Pickerington Local School District Board of Education select an interim assistant superintendent to replace Sotlar, who officially will become the Canal Winchester Local School District superintendent Jan. 1.

Rather than hire a full-time replacement before the end of the 2012-13 school year, Walker said he intends to recommend the assistant superintendent's post be filled internally and on an interim basis while he and school board officials look for opportunities to restructure the district's administrative offices.

"I would post an interim position and look to fill that internally," Walker said.

"It gives me the opportunity to better understand the operations of the district office to see if there's the potential for restructuring and filling that position differently."

Last month, Sotlar was selected from an initial pool of 30 candidates to succeed CW Superintendent Kimberley Miller-Smith, who will retire at the end of the year.

According to information from Canal Winchester Treasurer Joyce Boyer, Sotlar is expected to receive a base salary of $118,735 a year, plus benefits that will include a $400 a month travel allowance, 20 days of vacation and three personal days each year, full pick-up of retirement benefits to the State Teachers Retirement System and a $100,000 life insurance policy.

Sotlar, whose resignation is effective Dec. 31, had been the district's assistant superintendent since 2008.

Prior to his resignation, he was paid an annual salary of $109434, in addition to annual employee benefits valued at $47,476, according to the PLSD Treasurer's Department.

Sotlar also served as Pickerington's interim superintendent for the 2011-12 school year after former superintendent Karen Mantia left the district to take the same position with Lakota Local Schools near Cincinnati.

He was one of four finalist for the district's full-time superintendent position before Walker, who did not formally apply for the post prior to its deadline in November 2011 and he was not one of the named finalists, was hired last March.

Last Friday, Walker said he would post the assistant superintendent's position to candidates within the district Dec. 3 with an eye on making recommending an interim replacement by the school board's Jan. 7 meeting, if not sooner.

"I would be no later than the first meeting in January, but potentially as early as the last meeting in December," Walker said.

Asked last month about the impending vacancy in the assistant superintendent's office, Pickerington School Board President Lori Sanders said the board would wait to receive a recommendation from Walker before making any decisions about an interim or full-time replacement.

"That's not on our plate at the moment," Sanders said. "(Walker) would make that recommendation to us first."

Currently, the PLSD's assistant superintendent is responsible for maintaining all school board policies.

The assistant superintendent's office also handles issues that involve residence, custody, building transfers, enrollment, attendance boundaries, discipline, school safety and instructional effectiveness.

Walker said those duties could be altered prior to the eventual hiring of a full-time replacement, which likely would be targeted before the start of the 2013-14 school year.

However, he said it's unlikely the assistant superintendent's position will be eliminated or left vacant.

"We're as lean administratively as we could possibly be," Walker said. "What I'm looking at is possibly restructuring, creating different duties.

"Any time we have a resignation or retirement, that gives the district the opportunity to look at the possibility of restructuring."