Here's the path that's led to Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata recommending creating the new positions of deputy superintendent for school performance and chief transformation officer.
it starts with the free organizational audit done for Tata by the Broad Superintendent's Academy. While the actual report hasn't been publicly released due to employee confidentiality reasons, Robert Schiller gave a "high level overview" during Tuesday's school board work session,
In a nutshell, the audit found Wake to be lean administratively but needing someone to be the person to turn to for academic issues.
"The District, and the staff, suffers from not having one person, other than the Superintendent, who is identified as responsible on a daily basis for all of the initiatives in the educational program, and for assuring progress is being made with the program and educational agenda each day in the schools, and ultimately, who is accountable for improving performance," Schiller said.
The audit compared Wake to 12 other districts, including Duval County in Florida, Gwinnett County in Georgia and Montgomery County in Maryland.
Schiller repeatedly talked about how lean Wake's various departments were and how further cutbacks would cripple the district's services. He said Wake had the most rationally organized school district he had ever seen.
“You run one of the most leanly staffed organizations for your referent group,” Schiller said.
For instance, Schiller said the public perception that the Communications Department is overstaffed is wrong. He said that perception is due to the fact that Communications also includes the print shop and community services, which handles rental of school facilities.
If you exclude the print shop and community services, Schiller said communications is understaffed compared to the other districts in the reference group.
One area that wasn't as glowing was the need to make changes to promote student achievement.
Schiller said there needs to be better alignment between the chief academic officer and the area superintendents.
He also noted how the chief academic officer had nine different divisions/departments reporting to her, which is more than other chiefs.
Schiller said there is a critical need to provide more direct supervision to the school sites and principals on a daily basis.
The audit also found that there were too many schools assigned to each area superintendent at a ratio of 1 to 28.
Wake had eliminated the western Wake area superintendent job last year to help restore some parental counseling services to Project Enlightenment. Schiller recommended eliminating the chief area superintendent's position to bring back the area supt. for western Wake.
Schiller said principals told them there was a limited ability for the area superintendents to help the high schools.
Schiller said the area superintendents should be the visible face for each area, acting more like CEOs.
Tata agreed with the recommendation to create the deputy superintendent for school performance. The chief academic officer, who would now have less people reporting to her, would report to the deputy superintendent along with the area superintendents.
The responsibilities of the chief academic officer would also be lessened by having special education and student support services report to the deputy superintendent.
The chief academic officer would also lose evaluation and research and the office of grants to the new chief transformation officer. Also, E&R would be renamed data and accountability.
Tata said he's moving E&R because he didn't want them reporting to the people they're supposed to evaluate.
Also reporting to the chief transformation officer is student assignment, professional development leadership and the senior director of long range planning. Student assignment and long range planning have been reporting to the chief facilities and operations officer. Professional development has been reporting to the chief of staff.
The print shop would be moved from communications to the chief business officer.
Under Communications you'll see a newly formed family and public engagement section, correcting what Tata called a weakness now. He said they'd use some of the self-funded community services positions to pay for people to do more parental outreach, such as running parent academies.
The reorganization doesn't require board approval. The salary for the new deputy superintendent and chief transformation officer is supposed to come from savings in the budget.