School District fills key positions

Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2010

JUNEAU - The Juneau School District has filled two key positions, completing a realignment of the central office that began last month. The changes are intended to intensify the focus on world-class instruction and are revenue neutral.

No additional positions or funding have been added.

Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich made the announcement May 11.

"I am excited about the role these two talented administrators will play in helping us systematically increase the success of all students," he said. "They both come to these new roles with demonstrated ability to work closely within a team and get the job done."

Patty Newman will be the new director of curriculum and instruction. Newman is currently the principal at Mendenhall River Community School, where she has been a strong leader for the past 7 years. She has a background in curriculum and more than 30 years of experience in education as a classroom teacher, mentor and administrator. Newman holds a masters of education from the University of La Verne in Bakersfield, Calif., and a BA from California State University Bakersfield.

In her new role, Newman will oversee curriculum, assessment and evaluation for the school district. One of her initial tasks will be the development of a more effective K-12 curriculum in literacy and mathematics.

"Patty has effectively led her staff and school community in a way that delivered on improved student success in literacy and math," Gelbrich said. "We believe that kind of leadership will contribute immensely to the work outlined in our Strategic Plan."

John Wahl has been promoted to coordinator of instructional technology after 6 years as a technology instructional coach. In the new role, he will assist the school district in integrating technology to support and enhance the classroom experience. Wahl has been with the Juneau School District since 1997 as a middle school teacher, technology mentor and most recently the math, science and technology specialist.

Wahl holds a BA from St. Mary's College of California and completed the Elementary Teacher Credential program at the University of Alaska Southeast. He has received specialized training in technology at University of Alaska Southeast and Apple.

"John has the ability to think and plan with the big picture in mind. In addition, he is effective in partnering with classroom teachers as they explore ways to use technology to enhance their instruction," Gelbrich said.

The Juneau School District launched a Strategic Plan in December outlining nine specific initiatives designed to create a high performing school district. Changes at the District level aligning efforts and existing resources to support the teaching-learning process were announced in April.

Both Newman and Wahl start their new jobs July 1. The Juneau School District will immediately begin a full-scale search to find a qualified individual for the Mendenhall River Community School principal position.

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