By Linda Dillman
The Canal Winchester Schools’ administrative hierarchy will change following the upcoming retirement of Curriculum Director Janine Taylor and the creation of an assistant director’s position.
On March 16, the district hired Winchester Trail principal Cyndi Toledo to replace Taylor on a two-year contract with an annual base salary of around $95,000. Board members approved the new assistant director’s position on March 23.
Taylor steps down at the end of the 2014-15 school year after serving as director for 11 years.
“With the ever increasing demands on school districts to meet new requirements, to implement standards and instructional strategies, and to support existing programs that improve student learning, we must strengthen our infrastructure to meet these demands,” said Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent James Sotlar, who said the assistant director is the first new administrative position created since he became superintendent.
“Adding the position of assistant curriculum director allows the district to have a more focused partnership with all building principals and classroom teachers as they focus on curriculum requirements, research trends, implementation strategies, and instructional resources to better impact students,” said Sotlar.
According to the resolution passed by the board, the assistant director’s pay range is $87,344 to $105,656 and the start date is Aug. 1. Sotlar said he is responsible for filling the new position and the salary will be determined by the level of experience of the individual.
“I will always look within first, but my goal is to hire the most qualified person,” said Sotlar.
When asked about adding an administrative position in light of additional teachers or school nurses, Sotlar said, “I do not take lightly spending taxpayer monies. I spend a great deal of time researching and investigating before I make a decision.”
He said that, over the last two years, he reviewed the district’s staffing plan and several teaching positions were added.
“It is always my goal to take care of the teaching side first,” said Sotlar. “However, I must also look at the administrative side to make sure our staff has enough support and resources necessary to be successful in the classroom.”
Sotlar said with the district’s focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and Project Based Learning, and to support existing programs that improve student learning, he believes the new position will ensure the district continues to deliver high quality educational programs.
He added the position allows the district to have better communication across the various building levels and focus on more than one grade level or building level at any given time.
“It will allow for collaboration as we work together with the buildings as a team,” said Sotlar. “And, it will spark creativity throughout the process of implementing the hands-on professional development and modeling of these 21st Century skills in our own daily activities.”
According to Taylor, the job of curriculum director has changed over the years, including addressing state mandates that continue to pile up. She said her foremost responsibility is to partner with each building principal as they focus on various curricular needs. Her second responsibility is to classroom teachers who seek advice, ask her to research trends in instructional strategies or to seek resources that will enhance job performance.
“My secretary and I always focus on the needs of the buildings before anything else,” said Taylor.
Training qualifications for the assistant curriculum director’s position include a state administrative certification or license, master’s degree or higher, minimum of five years teaching, prior administrative experience and demonstrated leadership skills.
Duties include assisting in curriculum programming, service and district-wide standards; reviewing curriculum and instructional effectiveness; collaborating with leading teachers on activities and responsibilities; keeping abreast of trends; working with the gifted program; and addressing grant opportunities.