unedited sept tahoe mt. news:
By Kathryn Reed
It’s Sept. 2 and someone new, yet oh, so familiar is greeting middle school students this first day of school.
Beth Delacour has always been about kids.
“I love being with the kids. It’s what my sole needed,” Delacour said.
Her nearly eight-year stint in the district office as director of Human Resources is over. (It was only supposed to be three months.) She replaced Jackie Nelson at principal of South Tahoe Middle School. She took an $11,000 a year pay cut to return to a campus.
Her old job has been redefined. Jim Watson, who was approved at the Sept. 9 board meeting to be HR director, will also handle staff development. This will be an easier transition for the Sierra House Elementary principal because he has been doing the staff development piece for the past few years.
Almost 20 people had applied for the position. On Sept. 10, Watson’s principalship was posted. It will be listed for 15 days. Like Delacour, Watson will do two jobs until someone replaces him.
Delacour said a number of people in the district have administrative credentials, so it’s possible the next principal will be a familiar name. She also said even though school has started, vice principals outside the area are apt to apply.
Superintendent Jim Tarwater said changing the job description of what is now Watson’s job is natural. As the district intensifies professional development, the HR manager has familiarity with the 200-plus teachers in Lake Tahoe Unified.
Watson won’t take on Delacour’s other job -- being co-principal of the Environmental Magnet school with Tarwater. Tarwater handled the bulk of the load. Now he has sole ownership of principal at the Meyers school. He starts most days there before going to the district office.
“We are trying to figure out how to work things out ... if we need to jockey people around. That is a work in progress,” board President Sue Novasel said of the magnet school staffing situation. She believes it’s been good to have the district’s leader out there, but knows this just adds to his workload.
Tarwater isn’t eager to give up that aspect of his job description. He likes the interaction with kids, parents, teachers and staff.
The state monitors the administrator to teacher ratio. LTUSD has 13 administrators, but could have 18. This saves the district about $500,000 a year.
While Tarwater seems to have more to do without Delacour, it won’t come with more pay. The superintendent had his annual review this summer. It came with a one-year extension to his contract, so it expires in 2011. It’s routine to keep adding a year so the contract stays at three years. No raise was given.
“Overall, we gave him a very satisfactory review. There’s always little tweaks to in the system to work on,” Novasel said. “Mostly we are making sure he keeps the lines of communication open. He tends to try to work too hard and take on too many assignments. We’d like him to delegate more.”
Retirement isn’t a word Tarwater is ready to entertain, though he said maybe in five years. But he doesn’t think he would make a good retiree.
“I would love to be able to walk away from this with good facilities and good programs and know each kid is getting the best that they can, especially for this community and these kids,” Tarwater said. “They have a lot tougher road. There is more poverty than people think and a lot of influences with drugs.”
He admits when he came here he didn’t realize the nuances of the town or the struggles within the district. Tarwater said passing Measure G in November will go a long way to putting the district where he wants it and it needs to be.