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North Marion administration: from superheroes to super performers

They say necessity is the mother of invention. For North Marion School District the necessity was keeping up with the growing demands of the educational world and the innovation was a realignment of duties for our secondary (grades 6-12) administrators.

Currently we ask our administrators to try to cover all aspects of governing our schools. The duties include discipline, facilities management, professional development, public relations, technology, student safety, teacher evaluation, implementing reforms and a hundred more items. Expecting our admin team to appear each day in their superhero capes and excel in each of these tasks is an unreasonable expectation — there is simply too much to do and too little time to do it in.

Education reform efforts over the past three years have changed the way we govern our schools, how we hold ourselves and our students accountable for their performance and how we engage in teaching and learning. The result has been a complete revolution in our educational system in this state.

Caught in the crossfire of trying to plan and operationalize all these changes at a dizzyingly fast pace with fewer resources than ever before is our administrative staff. Facing skepticism from staff that has been dangled like a yo-yo on a string with all these changes and frustrated demands from parents who just want to see the positive results we have been promising, administrators walk a tightrope between empathy and expectation.

Trying to achieve greater degrees of efficiency, avoid administrator burn out and maintain accountability for results, we have decided to restructure our secondary (grades 6-12) administrative team.

Pulling a page from the business playbook, we are specializing the tasks they perform allowing them to focus on what they do best while providing optimal results for the organization. Our goal is to create an administrative team of super performers, not fictionalized superheroes, who can successfully guide us forward.

Their duties will be divided along two broad categories: operations and teaching and learning. Our high school and middle school principal positions remain, with both focused on operational responsibilities. They continue to guide their respective buildings and are liaisons to parents and the community. Two other administrators join together to form a secondary teaching and learning team that will direct all things having to do with classroom instruction and student learning in both buildings. This reorganization does not add any staffing to the secondary administrative team, just rearranges their responsibilities.

We will start transitioning to the new model this spring as we plan for next year, with full implementation next fall.

For more information on the changes in education, the new duties of the admin staff, or a diagram of the secondary model, please visit our website at www.nmarion.k12.or.us.




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