Archive for Wednesday, April 4, 2007

District faces fourth down

Principal to leave middle school for post in KCK

April 4, 2007

The Tonganoxie school district will need to fill a fourth administrator's position for the 2007-08 school year.

Tonganoxie Middle School principal Steve Woolf said Friday that he has accepted the middle school principal position in the Turner school district in Kansas City, Kan.

Woolf, who has been at Tonganoxie the past eight years, said the job at Turner was a financial opportunity he could not pass up.

"It's just something for my family I could not turn down," Woolf said.

The principal on Friday declined to disclose specifics of his salary at Turner until his current contract expires this summer with the Tonganoxie School District. Turner officials did not return a call for comment Tuesday about Woolf's salary there.

His salary for the current school year at TMS is $79,628.

Woolf said he would have stayed in Tonganoxie had the district matched Turner's offer.

"I thought it would be wrong for me to not give them an opportunity to match it," Woolf said.

Last month, Woolf applied for the Kansas State Board of Education commissioner's post. He said he hasn't yet been contacted about an interview for that position. But if he were to be offered the state job, he would leave Turner.

"That would trump that job, and Turner knows it and everybody knows it," Woolf said.

Tonganoxie Supt. Richard Erickson said the TMS principal, who has been in Tonganoxie for eight years, would be missed.

"I'm disappointed that he's going obviously," Erickson said.

. "But I'm happy for him. I think it's a nice professional opportunity for him. A nice increase in salary and traveling allowance as well."

Erickson also declined to discuss how much the salary would be at Turner. He praised Woolf for starting the PRIDE program, as well as "Night of the Stars," which are reward programs for student's academic achievements.

Erickson added that Woolf's work had been "phenomenal" and that he felt privileged that both of his children have been educated under Woolf. Erickson's daughter, Ann, now is in high school, while his son, Dane, is a seventh-grader at TMS.

Woolf said his family would remain in Tonganoxie.

He and his wife, Kelly, have three children: Stephen, who is a senior at Tonganoxie High School; Jake, a freshman at THS; and Tanner, a sixth-grader at TMS.

Administration shuffle

Woolf is yet another piece in the school administration shuffle this year at Tonganoxie.

The district now will need to hire new principals for each of its three schools.

Former Tonganoxie Elementary School principal Jerry Daskoski abruptly resigned in December, citing the need to focus on his family.

High school principal Tatia Shelton resigned last month, as did TMS assistant principal Darren Neas.

In December, Daskoski told The Mirror that he was unable to leave his work concerns at home. However, on Jan. 9, Daskoski's license was revoked in light of felony theft charges filed against him in November 2005 in Wichita.

The revocation included his license to teach elementary school and work in school administration throughout Kansas.

The theft charges stemmed from a Nov. 25, 2005, incident at Sam's Wholesale Club in Wichita in which Daskoski concealed a $1,555 Sony 31-inch television in a box that previously held a file cabinet. And, he concealed a $188 DVD player in another box, which had held a less expensive item. When he checked out, Daskoski paid $160.77 for the television in the file cabinet box and $16.44 for the DVD player in the other box.

Daskoski said in a February interview with The Mirror that he had never done anything like that previously and that he has been under the care of a mental health professional for obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, panic attacks and depression.

The former TES principal entered into a diversion agreement regarding the felony charges. And, he appealed the state's decision in revoking his education license, but the state board denied his appeal in February.

Shelton and Neas resigned after serving three-day suspensions with pay early last month. The exact reasoning for the suspensions was not disclosed, but Erickson later said an investigation did not uncover any breaking of board policy after being suspended.

However, Shelton and Neas resigned March 16.

Both will be paid through their current contracts, which end June 30. In an agreement with the school board, the two administrators are finishing out their contracts on a paid leave-of-absence basis. In return, Shelton and Neas agreed not to sue the school.

That leaves just two administrators on board in the school district -- acting TES principal Tammie George and acting THS principal Brent Smith.

Also last month, the board reversed an earlier decision that required activities director Brandon Parker to become a certified administrator, so he will stay on board as the activities director.

Load of work

It will be a busy spring in looking to replace four administrators

"We will have our work cut out for us," Erickson said.

"As far as us finding replacements, and when we go to recruit and hire employees in USD 464, we're not trying to just fill positions, but find the best possible fit," Erickson said. "This spring will be no exception to that. We're going to look long and hard."

Erickson said the district had started advertising for the positions, as well as a new post -- director of operations -- that will be an assistant superintendent role.

The district already has received interest for the vacant positions. Erickson said he soon would begin setting up interviews with candidates.

Teaching positions also will need to be filled. At the high school, the district is searching for a biology/science teacher, an additional business education instructor, a combination Spanish/French teacher and a part-time art instructor. At the middle school, the district looks to hire a vocal/instrumental music instructor and an eighth-grade media teacher, another new position.

And at the elementary school, an additional first-grade teacher will need to be hired.

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