Archive for Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Board fills first of principal vacancies

April 18, 2007

It's time to remove "acting" from Tammie George's title.

George, Tonganoxie Elementary School's assistant principal, had been serving since January as acting principal for Jerry Daskoski, who resigned in late December.

But at a special meeting Monday, the school board voted unanimously, 6-0 to hire George as TES principal.

Board member Darilyn Hansen was not in attendance.

"It's very reassuring; it does make you feel validated that you've been doing some of the right things," said George, who has been in the Tonganoxie school district 12 years, the last seven as an administrator.

George said she's comfortable now building on programs she previously didn't feel she had authority to start because she was serving on an interim basis.

"A lot of things work very well," George said. "It's not like there are huge changes. But there are things that I might change or tweak."

George's hire also is the first step toward restoring a full administrative staff within the school district.

Daskoski was the first of four administrators to resign this school year. Tonganoxie Middle School principal Steve Woolf and assistant Darren Neas also entered into resignation agreements, as did high school principal Tatia Shelton, leaving George and THS assistant principal Brent Smith as the only two set to return next school year.

"I hope that that creates a feeling of stability, especially within our own building and our own staff," George said. "Maybe security, that there's something that's known. I think there's been some relief that we're moving ahead and making some decisions and planning for next year."

George said the elementary staff is ready to move ahead.

Daskoski resigned in December when faced with the possibility of losing his license related to a 2005 Wichita shoplifting charge. He fulfilled terms of a diversion agreement and was not convicted of a crime. However, the Kansas State Board of Education voted in January to revoke his administrator's license.

Woolf last month announced he would take over as Turner Middle School principal in Kansas City, Kan., next school year. He also had applied to be the next commissioner of education for the Kansas State Board of Education, but was not interviewed. The board announced Tuesday it had selected five finalists. Woolf said he was not among them.

Shelton and Neas both were suspended with pay for three days in March, although the specific reasons weren't given. The school board later reinstated them after an investigation found no wrongdoing, but both resigned shortly after the suspensions.

Both Shelton and Neas will be paid through the end of their contracts, which end June 30, although they are no longer on the job. As part of their resignation terms, they agreed not to sue the school district.

As for filling positions for the next school year, the hiring of George is a good first step, school Supt. Richard Erickson said.

"I'm elated," Erickson said. "She's been a great administrator in our district and a fine leader for a number of years."

Before serving the past seven years as an administrator, George was a sixth-grade teacher for five years at TES. Overall, she has 25 years of experience in education.

A native of Crete, Neb., George attended Doane College in her hometown. She received her education degree there and later moved to Oregon. But, she said homesickness brought her back to the Midwest, and she applied for teaching positions in Nebraska and Kansas.

She taught in Maple Hill and then in the Topeka school district in the Seaman elementary schools.

In the Topeka area, she met her husband, Herb. When Herb's job directed him to the Kansas City area, she landed a teaching job in Tonganoxie.

George earned her master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Emporia State, as well as roughly 30 course hours in administration.

She and her husband have two children, Phil, a THS graduate who is a freshman at Park University in Kansas City, Mo., and Ali, a freshman at THS.

Erickson said the school received roughly 20 applications for the position.

At Monday's meeting, George beat out three other finalists: Ty Pouel, a Eureka elementary school principal; Jill Dickerson, an assistant junior high principal in Andover; and Judith Chamberlain, an elementary principal in the Perry-Lecompton district.

George's salary for the current school year is $68,859. Although next year's salary won't be final until June, Erickson expected that George would make between $73,000 and $75,000 for the 2007-2008 school year.

The school board will continue to interview candidates for its other administrative openings in the coming weeks, including the TES assistant principal post that became vacant Monday.

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