A plan to reduce classroom sizes in the Shawnee Mission School District had repercussions in De Soto schools this week as De Soto Superintendent Doug Sumner announced he will leave in July.
Sumner, who has been with the De Soto district since 2010, will become Shawnee Mission’s assistant superintendent of human resources. He was one of four hires announced last week as the Shawnee Mission district begins shuffling its administrative staff in an effort to put more money into classrooms.
The flow chart reconfiguration, which reduced five positions to four, is only the first step in a larger plan that could save the district $1.5 million that it will put into classrooms, said Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson. When the restructuring is complete, there will be about 15 fewer administrators, he said. He said he expects to discuss the restructuring further at the next board meeting Feb. 23.
The positions will be eliminated without layoffs because 180 teachers accepted an early retirement incentive. Hinson said those vacancies will make it possible for displaced administrators to find other positions within the district.
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Hinson said he plans to reduce class size caps with the savings. For instance, class size caps would be reduced to 27 from 29 in the third grade and to 27 from 30 in fourth through sixth grades.
On Wednesday, the Teton County school district in Jackson, Wyo., hired Gillian Chapman, an associate superintendent in Shawnee Mission, as it new superintendent of schools. Chapman, who has been iwh the district since 1994, will begin July 1.
In addition to Sumner, the district signed contracts with Christy Ziegler, formerly of the Gardner Edgerton School District, Michelle Hubbard, former superintendent of Turner School District and Richard Atha, superintendent of the Garden City School District.
Ziegler will become assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment with a basic salary of $142,537. Hubbard will become assistant superintendent of instructional leadership at $164,076, and Atha will be assistant superintendent for instructional support at $174,000.
Sumner’s salary will be $174,000. All the contracts run from July of this year to June 30, 2018.
Atha has been superintendent of the Garden City district for the past 10 years, but has also worked in Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit and Raytown districts in a variety of positions.
Hubbard has worked in the Turner district for 24 years, the past seven of which she served as superintendent. She had been appointed to a different Shawnee Mission administrative job — associate superintendent for human resources — in December but asked to be considered for the assistant superintendent job when it was posted.
Ziegler is currently the director of science, technology, engineering and math-related programs for the Shawnee Mission district. Before that she was spent nine years as the executive director of educational services in the Gardner-Edgerton district. She was in the news when she and another administrator in that district complained of gender discrimination and a hostile work environment about a year ago. Both of them, plus a former superintendent, were fired after their complaint became known.
Sumner, also, had difficulties during his time at De Soto. He had to apologize in 2013 for failing to get competitive bids for around $900,000 of wireless technology equipment, in violation of board policy.
Shawnee Mission Superintendent Hinson said he has confidence in his new hires. “I don’t have any concerns about their work performance at any other districts,” he said.
Sumner’s departure from De Soto schools will mean that district will soon have to begin a search for a new superintendent, said Alvie Cater, district spokesman.