District officials bypass pay hike

White River School District administrators will sacrifice their scheduled pay raises and professional staff development in an effort to keep a staff position and continue the district’s math training.

Superintendent Tom Lockyer made the announcement at the White River School Board’s workshop March 25.

“We had to look at creative ways that we can support our staff,” Lockyer said. “I am proud of the leadership in this district and how that leadership recognizes and values our staff by sacrificing compensation to keep as many staff as we can during these difficult times. Equally, how their leadership values the importance of the math training occurring in the district and their efforts to use their professional development funds to support that ongoing training for staff.

“No one hesitated,” Lockyer said when the proposal first surfaced. “It was great.”

The administrative team, which is made up of school principals and assistant principals, will give up the equivalent of one day’s pay to retain staff and will forego its professional development funds to support training.

Lockyer and the central administrative team will go one step further by giving up its scheduled pay increases for the 2009-10 school year. The central administrative team is made up of Lockyer, Deputy Superintendent Janel Keating, Director of Human and Administrative Resources Keith Banks, Director of Student Support Services Hugh Flint, Professional Development Director John Hellwich, Assessment and Curriculum Director Mike Jacobsen, Business Office Manager Mona Moan, Technology Supervisor Pam Jeter, Facilities and Transportation Services Director Rick LaBoyne and Food Services Supervisor Hydie Kidd.

The approximately $80,000 that will be saved will bring back district math consultant Janis Heigle. Heigle, who is in the second of a three-year contract with the district, has been working with elementary school leaders and teachers to improve math skills. She was slated to continue that work at the middle and high school levels, as well as continue work at the elementary levels. She came to the district as a consultant, but was part of the team that wrote the state’s standards. A small portion of her work is covered by federal dollars.

“We don’t want to lose that,” Lockyer said. “We’ve made such great progress.”

Also, the school district has been in demand across the state and nation as a showcase for its professional learning communities. This month, educators from Tennessee were on campus seeing first-hand how teachers come together to collaborate on student learning. As a recognized leader in the field, White River will team with Solution Tree and the Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development to host a Professional Learning Academy June 22 and 23. The program will feature White River mentor Bob Eaker as keynote speaker. Eaker, a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Middle Tennessee State University, is a former fellow with the National Center for Effective Schools Research and Development. He has written widely on the issues of effective teaching, effective schools, helping teachers use research findings and high expectations for student achievement.

“It’s a feather in our cap,” Lockyer said of the invitation to host.

The academy will focus on the practical applications and practices of collaborative learning communities in action. A portion of proceeds from the event will funnel back into White River’s program as one-time money.

Reach Brenda Sexton at or 360-802-8206.

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