A special meeting of the Emmetsburg Community School Board prompted a discussion over a hiring recommendation on Thursday, May 31. At issue was the proposed hiring of a new assistant principal for the High School and Middle School.
The discussion began after Superintendent John Joynt recommended the hiring of Tracy Christensen of Charles City for the position, most recently held by Fred Matlage, who was named High School Principal earlier this Spring.
Christensen has previous experience as a legal secretary, high school secretary and then a business education instructor for the past seven years, as well as technology experience, including the one-to-one computer program at Charles City.
"The nice thing is she has real-world experiences as a high school secretary and a legal secretary, so she has a better understanding of what the real world is like out there,"?Matlage said. "She'd be a strong candidate."
"We were going to meet and recommend another candidate,"?Board Member Tammy Naig spoke up. "Why didn't that transpire?"
"After more thought over the weekend, that happened late on Friday, and on Monday, we had kind of a change in opinion in whether we were really looking for the technology, that type of thing. Mr. Matlage and I had a long discussion about that and changed ideas,"?Joynt answered. "Both are strong candidates,"
"Did we offer that person the position?" Naig asked.
"Yes, on Sunday,"?Joynt answered. "Fred called on that, offered on Saturday or Sunday and then called back on Monday that we had changed our mind."
"And this person's response was...?" Naig pressed.
"Not thrilled,"?Joynt answered.
"We gave her what reason?" asked Naig.
"We changed our attitude from a strong Special Ed background to a background in Professional Learning Communities (PLC's) and technology," replied Joynt.
Board member Scott Kibbie observed that he had sat in on the interviews, and that he would like to start over in the process, noting the recommendation was not his first choice.
"This particular person that we're offering a job to here now I?just wasn't that impressed with," Kibbie admitted. "My opinion is that we go back to the drawing board and spend a little more time, re-interview, and get the right person for this job. It was my opinion that we didn't need another technology person."
"What about discipline?" asked board member Kathy Roethler.
"That's the job that we're hiring for,"?Kibbie agreed.
As the discussion continued, Joynt explained that the change of mind towards technology was based in part on new regulations for professional development of instructors through PLC's and related topics such as intervention for individual student achievement.
"Everything's going to revolve around the PLC's," Joynt pointed out.
Naig commented, "I'm troubled that we offered a job and then we took it away. This is the second time in our searches we've done this."
Board member Karla Anderson asked what the options were if a job were offered to an individual and after a year, the individual was not meeting the expectations of the position.
"The first year is probationary," Joynt answered.
"So if an evaluation came in that were unfavorable, we would have the ability to terminate?" Anderson asked.
"Yes, but they to have due process,"?Joynt answered.
"I feel like Scott does, a little confused,"?admitted Roethler. "We offered the job to one person and then took it back."
"I just want to see the right person for the job and not have to be doing this again in a year,"?Kibbie said."I'm not trying to buck the system, but I?just don't have a good feeling about this."
Anderson then moved to approve the recommendation to hire Christensen and after a second, the board voted 6-1 to approve the recommendation, with Kibbie casting a nay vote.
In other personnel matters, the board approved the naming of Dallas Naig as Transportation Director and also accepted the resignation of Amanda Carpenter as a para-professional.