Thursday, April 25, 2013

Now the School District really does need a succession plan!

Apparently Prince Rupert can deal with multiple dramas at the same time, as School District 52 seeks to go item for item up against its City Council compatriots in the headline generating business.

In a very busy week that has seen Prince Rupert City Council struggle with its budget concerns (complete with a mini drama over the City owned communications company), the School District grabs a bit of the spotlight on its own.  Offering up a new item up for discussion, (upper management succession) all while still trying to come to terms with their own Budget planning for the year ahead.

The latest shocker from the School District was the word received Tuesday, that Superintendent Lynn Hauptman had announced that she will be taking up duties with the Southeast Kootenay District, District 5, effective August of this year. No details were released through either the SD 52 or SD 5 websites as to what position Ms. Hauptman is to take up when she arrives in the Southeast Kootenay's in four months time.

(Update: Janet Steffenhagen of the Vancouver Sun outlines in an in item in the sun that Ms. Hauptman is to be taking the top position at SD5 see full Sun story here)

Ms. Hauptman, who had previously worked in the School District from 1981-95, as a teacher, counsellor, Vice-Principal and Principal, returned to Prince Rupert in 2009 taking up the responsibilities of Superintendent of Education after serving a number of years in the Okanagan Skaha School District.

She arrived back on the North Coast amidst much interest in the nature of upper management, a fair amount of it coming from the departure of the former Superintendent Eric Mercer.

Along the way from 2009, ongoing developments within the School District continued to catch the eye of local residents, most recently with the revelation of the continued reliance on consultants, in particular, the cost of the use of those consultants which made for a bit of controversy late last year.

Last winter however was not the first we had heard of the the consultants situation, the topic received a fairly extensive review by the Vancouver Sun's Janet Steffenhagen back in 2010, an article that filled in some of the gaps in the story to that point.

Updates from all no doubt soon to be in the works, owing to the newest developments.

With the announcement of Ms. Hauptman's pending departure, School Board Chair Tina Last praised the Superintendent's leadership skills during her stay on the North Coast and offered up her observation to the Northern View, that the District had seen improved results for students, based on Ms. Hauptman's "focus on improved instructional methods by our teaching staff".

Of course, in that same period of time, there seems to have been a bit of a backlash from the local Teacher's union over management decisions in recent years. The famed Yertle the Turtle incident and recent Charter of Rights T shirts controversy, just the public face of some of the underlying tensions within the School District.

It is of interest to note that the topic of political messaging has also been a rather hot button issue in School District 5 Ms. Hauptman's soon to be new home. Considering her experiences on the theme from her time in Prince Rupert, she'll no doubt have much to share on the topic with the Southeast Kootenay District.

Her departure however could put Prince Rupert back to where it was five years ago in the need for stability at the top and will once again provide for much discussion on the way forward for School District 52.

At the moment, the School District is currently embroiled in disagreement over the controversial administration succession plan, particularly a recommendation on staffing put forward to the School District at the most recent budget meeting.  The key stumbling point seemingly the requested increase in the number of vice-principals in the District, with an eye towards upcoming retirements.

A plan that was seemingly vetoed at the District Board level by four dissenting votes, leaving the School District's Budget process still unfulfilled,  it will be the topic of discussion at the next School District meeting of April 30th at 5:30 PM.

Perhaps at that time, the School District may also find some time to outline what steps are ahead in replacing Ms. Hauptman, and where the vision for the School District may turn next.

You can review our past items of note on SD52 the good, bad and confusing from our archives.

Media items on the latest developments can be found below:

CFTK-- Hauptman Leaves SD52 (video)
CFTK-- School District 52 Superintendent says Goodbye
Northern View-- Superintendent of Prince Rupert's school district announces plan to move

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