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Wednesday, October 01, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 1/28/2014 - Updated: 8 months ago

New duties, titles OK’d for top-tier TPS officials

Superintendent’s deputies to visit schools frequently

BLADE STAFF
Gault Gault
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Top leaders in Toledo Public Schools have new titles and responsibilities under a reorganization of the superintendent’s cabinet.

Out are assistant superintendents. In are transformational leaders. The changes split up duties among administrators who report to Superintendent Romu-les Durant, who has made it a priority that cabinet members are out of the district headquarters and in school buildings as much as possible.

The changes effectively took place months ago, but were formalized Tuesday by the Toledo Board of Education. For years, the cabinet has worked in sort of ad-hoc fashion, after its membership was reduced following budget cuts, with members taking on increased duties.

Before, Jim Gault served as essentially both chief academic officer and chief of staff. Now, he’ll focus on the academic side, with the title of executive transformational leader of curriculum and instruction. Beyond the district academic duties, he has oversight of the Scott and Woodward learning communities.

The two assistant superintendents were in charge of three learning communities each. Now, Brian Murphy, who has the title of executive transformational leader of operations, will serve as chief of staff, and oversee the Start and Waite learning communities. Diane Irving is the transformational leader of community relations, and is in charge of the Bowsher and Rogers learning communities and the district’s two magnet high schools.

A performance audit of the district last year recommended a reorganization of the cabinet, and Mr. Murphy said the district’s changes largely followed those recommendations. But maybe the biggest change for those administrators is their increased visibility in schools, something they say is both required and inspired by Mr. Durant.

All three administrators are in schools most every day; if they can’t make it to a TPS school, they try to make up for it the next day, Mr. Murphy said. The trio said the push has helped them gain added insight in the schools, develop stronger relationships with school communities, learn of problems early, and observe the positive things teachers and students do every day.

Not that their work load is any less these days, Mr. Gault said, but if Mr. Durant can do it, so can they.

“If he has time on his plate to get out to schools, so do we,” Mr. Gault said.

Along with the reorganization, the school board approved three-year contracts for Mr. Gault, Mr. Murphy, Chief Human Resource Officer Cheryl Spieldenner, Chief Business Manager James Gant, and Angela Jordan, the superintendent’s executive assistant.

Cabinet members and other nonunion staff received 1 percent raises for this year and next. They also will receive longevity increases; the raises are identical to those received by TPS union members.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.



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