Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

June 1, 2013

Andrews begins transition to DOS spot

CROSSVILLE — Incoming Director of Schools Donald Andrews has already started working on his transition to the top leadership spot in the Cumberland County School System, and he's outlined a few ideas for changes in organization and management.

Speaking to the Cumberland County Board of Education during its May 23 meeting, Andrews said, "When I interviewed with you, I indicated there was a 90-day plan for my transition. We are just in the process of not yet completing what is considered a 15-20-day plan."

Andrews met with individual board members, toured the exterior of school facilities and toured Crossville and Cumberland County. He's visited with the Cumberland County Finance Director Nathan Brock, the staff at the Art Circle Library and with Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III and representatives of the Cumberland County Commission. He's talked with students and school personnel. He's also met with principals and support staff at the Central Office and held many meetings with current Director of Schools Aarona VanWinkle.

"It's been a very positive experience," Andrews said. "I feel I have a real understanding of the school system. As corny as it may seem, I know enough now to know what to ask."

Andrews presented a preliminary organizational chart for responsibilities in the schools system, with him directly overseeing maintenance, transportation, school nutrition, health services, security and principals.

Andrews has posted three vacancies and applications are being taken through June 3 for an assistant director of curriculum, instruction and accountability; assistant director of human resources and administration; and chief financial officer.

These are not new positions, Andrews noted.

The assistant director of curriculum, instruction and accountability would provide leadership for elementary and secondary education, federal programs, Career and Technical Education, special education, technology and attendance and principals. The assistant director of human resources and administrative services would provide support to employees on all human resources issues.

"Eighty-five to 90 percent of the budget goes to paying salaries," Andrews said. "The staff is the second most important group in the school system and this person needs to be highly prepared to deal with every situation in dealing with human resources."

Andrews said finalization of the organizational chart and assignment of duties would depend on whomever was hired for each position.

Andrews also is re-branding the Central Office, calling it instead Central Services.

"We need to be service-oriented to the children, first, staff, parents, community and everyone," Andrews said.

Andrews has asked different populations about the strengths and challenges of schools and the school system as a whole and their expectations of the director of schools.

Andrews plans to have similar sessions to identify school and system strengths and challenges with parents and community members in the fall.

Andrews also noted the state was requiring salary increases for certified personnel. Given the negotiations that were just completed between the board and Andrews, setting his salary at $115,000 a year, he said he would forego any increase in salary this year.

"It would be inappropriate to take any pay increase this year simply because of your generosity through the process," Andrews said.

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