12 school administrators get new assignments


Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 9:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 9:39 p.m.

Alachua County Schools’ administration is getting rearranged more than usual this year.

Usually, the superintendent makes one or two administrative appointments over the summer. During Tuesday’s meeting of the Alachua County School Board, Superintendent Dan Boyd made 12 appointments.

All the positions will be filled by people within the county.

“I have not had to go outside the school district to fill vacancies, and I don’t intend to do so,” Boyd said.

The district saw more retirements than usual this year.

Notably, assistant superintendent for planning, budgeting and systems accountability Keith Birkett is retiring this month after 42 years with the district.

His position will be filled by Scott Ward, who is currently chief financial officer for Alachua County Schools.

Karen Clarke, former director of secondary curriculum, will become assistant superintendent of student support and curriculum/instruction services.

Clarke’s position in the curriculum department will be filled by Donna Jones, who was principal of Duval Elementary for the last four years.

Lawson Brown will be principal at Duval in the fall.

Three district principals were reassigned to other schools: Jen Homard will move from Rawlings Elementary to Littlewood Elementary, Katherine Munn will move from Littlewood to Oak View Middle and Kevin Purvis will move from Oak View to Newberry High School.

Former Newberry High principal Shane Andrew was appointed executive director of facilities for Alachua County Schools.

Four schools will get first-time principals: Daniel Burney at Rawlings Elementary, Holly Burton at Waldo Elementary, Bill McElroy at the Professional Academies Magnet at Loften High School and Sue Keller at A. Quinn Jones Center.

“This was a big one,” school board chairwoman Eileen Roy said of the wave of appointments.

Later, Roy called for a workshop to discuss alternatives to suspending students from school.

She said research shows even one suspension increases a student’s likelihood of dropping out by 30 percent.

“There’s nothing good that happens when a student is out of school,” she said.

As a former high school teacher, Roy acknowledged there are times when a teacher must get a student out of the classroom, but she said there must be a more productive way to deal with behavioral issues, such as counseling.

The workshop will be open to the public. No date has been set.

“Anything that we can do to reduce suspensions, and to have children in school, and in class, I’m all for it,” board member Leanetta McNealy said.

The board also scheduled a public hearing on the pupil progression plan for 6:30 p.m. July 23. The plan, which must be amended and adopted every year, will be updated to include sweeping education changes passed by the Florida Legislature this year.

Contact Erin Jester at 338-3166 or erin.jester@gainesville.com.

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