The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board has unanimously green-lighted initial reorganization plans of its incoming superintendent, including the hiring of two new top administrators.
Bernard Taylor, who was selected in March and whose first official day isn’t until Monday, persuaded the School Board on June 7 to adopt a new organizational chart that includes at least five new job positions.
Four days later, the School Board filled two of the new jobs — deputy superintendent for innovation and reform executive assistant to the superintendent for parent and community engagement. They are expected to start working July 1.
In moving so quickly to reorganize, Taylor stands in stark contrast to his predecessor, John Dilworth, who made few changes to a leadership team he inherited in 2009.
Taylor is promising to make additional, unspecified Central Office cuts to offset the cost of the new positions and to move more people into schools as part of the process so they have more of a classroom impact.
Taylor provided the board with salary ranges for the five new jobs, but said only two of the positions, associate superintendents with salaries in the range of $100,000 to $130,000, will need to be offset with additional cuts.
Taylor said he plans to name Carlos Sam, the current interim superintendent, to one of the positions, that of associate superintendent for school leadership and instruction. The other, associate superintendent for student support services, will go to Herman Brister Sr., who is currently chief academic officer, Taylor said.
Brister has twice sought unsuccessfully to become superintendent.
Edwards said he’s excited the board agreed to hire Michael Haggen as the new deputy superintendent for innovation and reform.
“We’re not talking about top tier talent in the region,” Edwards said. “We’re talking about top tier in the nation.”
Haggen worked from 2006 to 2010 in top leadership positions with the state-run Recovery School District.
According to his résumé, Haggen has worked the past two years as associate superintendent of innovative services in St. Louis, where he has been working to turn around 27 low-performing schools. He spent most of his career in Michigan.
Haggen’s salary range will be between $150,000 and $180,000 a year.
Haggen will oversee the majority of schools in the school system, the 53 with letter grades of D or F, while Sam will oversee the 23 higher performing A, B and C schools, according to their respective job descriptions.
Brister will have much fewer duties in his new job. He will have just four offices reporting to him: school security, discipline centers, athletics and student activities, and the contract with Health Care Centers in Schools.
Along with Haggen, Marvin Trotter was hired on Monday. He is filling the new position of executive assistant to the superintendent for parent and community engagement.
Trotter has worked for the past four years with Taylor in the Grand Rapids, Mich., school district that Taylor led for five years before coming to Baton Rouge as a Title 1 supervisor and a reform facilitator.
Trotter will report directly to Taylor. His salary range is $90,000 to $110,000.
Taylor said he’s trying to balance the need for continuity with the need for change.
“I don’t want to raise anxiety any more than anxieties are going to be raised, but at the same time I have to look at what’s in the best interest of the students,” Taylor said.
He said he will continue to make organizational changes as needed.
Taylor’s initial reorganization plan keeps six main administrators, but they will have different duties and people answering to them.
Taylor said that Diane Atkins, associate superintendent for instructional support services, and Catherine Fletcher, chief business operations officer, are among those who will remain in their current positions. He said Millie Williams will remain as interim executive director of human resources until a permanent replacement is found.