Center School admin plan wrinkles smoothed over


Superintendent Dr. Dennis Carlson got a little help from teachers when he defended his administration plan for Center School before the school board Monday.

There’s been a rub between the administration’s plan for covering the principal vacancy at the school and the board since it was announced a couple of months ago.

The vacancy came just before school began when it was announced that longtime principal Sue Hinton would not be returning. She had been principal at the school for 13 years.

Carlson planned to fill that role by using some of his time and some of middle school Principal Lisa Lakin’s time.

The joint administration plan initially didn’t sit well with the school board. Members wondered where Carlson would find the time since the district is entering a major building program. And board members also wondered what would occur at Grand Coulee Dam Middle School when its principal was at Center School.

It was all put to rest Monday night when two Center School teachers, Rhonda Erickson and Lisa Wiese, told board members that the school had never functioned better. They said enthusiasm is high and problems are being dealt with promptly.

“We can’t believe how smoothly the school is operating this year,” Wiese stated.

Both teachers stated that staff members have stepped up and taken a spirit of “let’s get it done.” Wiese told the board that the current arrangement is a 180-degree turn for the better.

Erickson agreed. “Even the kids sense the change,” she said.

Carlson explained that he starts his day at the school during breakfast. He has noticed an improvement in the conduct of kids at the school.

“I will do the teacher evaluations this year,” he said. Already, teachers have noticed more visits to the classrooms under the current administration plan, Wiese and Erickson stated.

Carlson told the board that handling the administration this way would save the district $45,000 in salary and benefits for a half-year interim principal. He said he will recommend an interim principal for next school year since he will be heavily involved in the building program, set to be underway in late spring, 2013.

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An additional help will be establishment of “key” teachers in both schools, Center and the middle school. He said Cathy Huston will be “key” teacher at the middle school, and Shayla Picard will be “key” teacher at Center School.

Each will deal with some of the minor issues in their respective schools.

The two teachers said the plan is working well for them.

Carlson said that the middle school has a core of “very skilled” teachers.


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