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Archive for Saturday, July 22, 2000

It’s an opportunity

July 22, 2000

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Local school officials probably are smart to look on the bright side as it faces major changes in its administrative team.

Faced with the exit of its third top administrator, the Lawrence school board is trying to look on the bright side.

It's an opportunity, Board President Austin Turney, said following the announcement that Assistant Supt. Nettie Collins-Hart had accepted a job in North Carolina and will leave the Lawrence district next month. Her resignation comes on the heels of Supt. Kathleen Williams' departure last month and the announcement that Jim Freeman, executive director of facilities, also would leave the Lawrence district before the next school year.

The resignations will shrink the district's top leadership from eight people to five. The board doesn't plan to fill any of the vacancies immediately.

In the meantime, Interim Supt. Randy Weseman will have to streamline operations at the central office. One advantage Weseman foresees is that it will be "easier for people to know who to talk to." It's not just that Weseman will be one of the few top administrators left; there also will be an effort to eliminate some unnecessary bureaucracy. Turney hopes for "a flatter organizational chart." Any efficiencies in school administration surely will be welcomed by school district employees, as well as local taxpayers.

Scott Morgan, a school board member, said this week that the board might reconsider its hiring timetable, which calls for a permanent superintendent to be on the job by July 2001. It's important to get a superintendent hired, but there isn't any reason to panic. The district is in good hands with Weseman; the board can afford to take as much time as it needs to consider its hiring decisions.

This will be a challenging time for the district. School will be back in session in less than a month and much like the old theater tradition, "the show must go on." It won't be easy, but Lawrence has a great group of teachers and administrators who can rise to the occasion.

The exit of three top administrators within such a short time is unfortunate, but it isn't a disaster, or perhaps even a disadvantage for the district. Turney is right. It's better to look at this as an opportunity for improvement rather than an excuse for decline.

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