School board OKs Cowan for supt.

Former assistant to replace Gary Bader starting in February

Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Juneau School District Assistant Superintendent Peggy Cowan will take over as superintendent starting Feb. 1 and will serve until June of 2004, when her contract will be up for renewal, the School Board decided Tuesday night.

Outgoing Superintendent Gary Bader, who has been superintendent since 1999, resigned to take a position as chief investment officer with the state Department of Revenue's Treasury Division.

"I am looking forward to working with the board in the coming year and I take (my appointment) as a vote of confidence in the direction this current administration has taken," Cowan said today.

The School Board voted unanimously to offer a year-and-a-half contract to Cowan at a closed meeting Tuesday night and will approve the contract at the next board meeting, said board President Chuck Cohen.

"The contract will provide for a review by the School Board in the fall and we will at that point decide whether to offer her another contract," Cohen said.

Cowan's salary and benefits package will be commensurate with Bader's when he was hired as superintendent, Cohen said. Bader's contract was worth $94,500 annually when he was hired, officials said.

At Tuesday's School Board meeting Bader was given a plaque in honor of his work.

"I can't help but get a little misty reflecting on all the years with the Juneau School District," Bader said as he accepted the plaque. He began with the school district in 1994 as administrative services director.

Bader has been involved heavily in negotiations with the Juneau Assembly over the design for the proposed high school in the Mendenhall Valley. The School Board's design proposal, which has met with opposition by city staff and some Assembly members, will come before the Assembly for approval on Jan. 27.

During her tenure as assistant superintendent, Cowan has focused primarily on curriculum and education policy issues.

"There is a learning curve on a number of Gary's areas of expertise and I will be working with the board and district staff in coming weeks to get up to speed," Cowan said. "I think some of the critical decisions are to be made in the next two weeks and Gary will be there to answer questions. We will move from there."

Cowan will oversee the search for a new assistant superintendent. Cohen said the board felt the transition would be relatively smooth.

"We have confidence in Peggy, we think she is capable to do the job," Cohen said.

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