Administrative changes cause domino effect
Jan 29, 2019 04:05PM
By Jet Burnham
With five new schools opening in the next year, the Jordan School District saw a chain of changes in school administration. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Twenty-two Jordan District administrators were given one week’s notice that they were being reassigned to a new school.
Sandy Riesgraf, director of communications at Jordan District, said it is unusual for so many changes to be made mid-year.
“When you’re opening five new schools in the next year and two the following year, that’s when it becomes necessary,” Riesgraf said.
The change was abrupt — announced at a Jordan District board meeting Jan. 8 and effective just one week later. The appointments caused a domino effect in the administrations of a majority of schools in the district.
Carolyn Bona, principal of Midas Creek Elementary, was appointed principal of the new elementary in Bluffdale, which will open this fall. Filling her spot is Megan Cox, who left Golden Fields and Rosecrest Elementary without an assistant principal. (These positions had not been filled as of publication time.)
Cox said she felt comfortable with the sudden change and was confident to take on the role of principal. She has the support of several principals and district specialists she’s worked with over the years.
“They’ve helped train me and teach me and coach me,” she said. “So, I still have a great support system.”
Some schools were shocked and sad to lose their principals and assistant principals overnight.
While the Fort Herriman Middle School faculty and community was excited for their principal, Rodney Shaw, to be given the opportunity to open the new middle school in Bluffdale in 2020, they were sad to see him leave after 14 years at their school.
West Jordan Middle School lost an assistant principal in the shuffle — Eric Price replaced Shaw as principal at Fort Herriman. West Jordan High lost assistant principal Donna Hunter who was named principal at Oquirrh Hills Middle School when Michael Glenn was appointed principal for the new middle school in South Jordan.
“I know I have big shoes to fill,” said Hunter, who has worked with Glenn before. “I know it will be an adjustment for them, but if the kids will let me like them, we are going to have a great year. I am happy to have landed in the Eagle's Nest.”
Changes affected district positions as well.
Becky Gerber, previously a consultant for the teaching and learning department at the district, became the new area administrator for elementary schools in the district.
With a total of 37 elementary schools (and more in the planning phase), district officials decided to create an additional elementary area administrator position. The workload will now be spread among six area administrators to alleviate the workload and better serve schools.
“We want them to be able to focus-in and be there for those schools,” Riesgraf said.
Gerber said the district has provided a lot of support during the transition. She said several departments have been readjusted to accommodate the growth and address the changes in the district.
“With that realignment of responsibilities, they are making sure that we have enough people to do the work at a level of quality,” said Gerber. “They’re making sure all of those assignments are getting completed effectively.”
Riesgraf explained selections for new appointments were made from administrators who had applied to the district’s “administrative pool.”
Three more announced changes will be effective Feb. 11. An additional 17 will be effective July 1, including replacements for eight district employees and administrators who will be retiring at the end of the school year. For a complete list of changes, see jordandistrict.org.