Whitehall News

School board OKs new titles, hires

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The Whitehall Board of Education on March 13 unanimously approved a number of administrative changes.

Five new positions were approved, with three of the titles filled during that same meeting: the deputy superintendent, the executive director of elementary education and the executive director of secondary education.

Superintendent Brian Hamler said the administrative shuffle should not add any cost to the district, based on the retirement and resignation of two other key administrators.

"The organizational map is designed to reflect the work currently being done and align roles and responsibilities to support a philosophy of moving decision-making and resources closer to the students," Hamler has said. "The timing of some hires are driven by the retirement or resignation date."

Board president Walter Armes was not present for the vote. He is expected to return next month.

Longtime Rosemore Middle School principal Mark Trace will become deputy superintendent, with a salary of $111,516 a year. Kristin Barker, coordinator of student services for South-Western City Schools, was approved as the director of secondary education at $100,265 a year. And Darrell Propst, principal at Taylor Road Elementary School in Reynoldsburg for the past nine years, will become the new director of elementary education, receiving a salary of $96,841 a year.

The district also is looking to hire a special-education coordinator and career- and technical-education coordinator/assistant principal following the board's approval of the new positions last week.

Hamler also is seeking board approval next month to hire an autism specialist in an effort to house its own room for autistic children in Whitehall who currently receive services outside the district.

The new administrative positions are the result of a number of changes made by Hamler since he became superintendent last summer.

Late last year, board members approved the retirement of Andy Riggle, the district's former director of administrative services. Riggle was not replaced; his duties were split. The change placed all of the district's personnel responsibilities with Hamler -- responsibilities he had in 2006, when he served as Whitehall's director of personnel.

Also as part of the change, Dave Hausmann, the district's former director of facilities and transportation, was rehired as the director of operations, taking on Riggle's other duties.

Also, Susie Carr, who recently resigned as the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction after a one-year rehire following her retirement, will not be replaced under the new administrative structure.

In other action, board members approved a resolution to solve persistent flooring problems at Beechwood and Etna Road elementary schools at no cost to the district. The floors have had a lot of "edge lifting" since the schools opened. Earlier this month, the district, along with the Ohio School Facilities Commission and the original flooring contractor, agreed to a settlement during a mediation meeting.

Construction manager Craig Kertesz called the settlement "a rather favorable solution."

In it, all flawed flooring will be replaced with new, better material at no cost to the district.

Kertesz said he hopes to complete the work over the summer.

School officials also announced that they are in the process of drawing new school boundaries in an effort to relieve overcrowding at some of the district's elementary schools while striking a balanced enrollment. The changes would affect about 146 children, most who already ride buses.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 10, at Whitehall-Yearling High School for its next monthly meeting.

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