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Northwest trustees extend Rue’s contract

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Northwest ISD plans to hold onto its leader a little longer.

After meeting in closed session Jan. 30, trustees voted unanimously to extend the contract of Superintendent Karen Rue.

“It’s an absolute joy to be a part of this team and to be a part of what we’re accomplishing here in Northwest ISD,” Rue said. “It’s been a great journey, and I know that our kids are getting what they need to step forward on their journey.”

The one-year addition stretches Rue’s contract through June 2018. She joined the district in 2005.

During budget-writing last summer, she received a 2 percent salary increase, bringing her total annual salary to $252,144.

Later in the meeting, board president Mel Fuller noted that eSchool News named Rue one of six 2014 Tech Savvy Superintendent Award winners in the nation.

She was the only Texas superintendent to receive the honor this year.

According to information posted on the eSchool News website, Rue is described by colleagues as a “transformational leader” who recognizes the importance of 21st-century skills in preparing students for their future.

To help students develop these skills, the district has equipped all classrooms with projectors, document cameras and other interactive technologies.

Last August, every high school student received a Dell Latitude 10 tablet, and all middle school students will receive a Dell tablet next year.

Rue also oversaw the design and implementation of a district mobile app for Apple and Android devices. The first phase of the app, which was released in October, includes district and campus news updates, a staff directory, campus locations, a department phone list and an option to receive push notifications.

The second phase, which was implemented last month, features access to grades, attendance records, lunch account balances and attendance boundary information.

“We appreciate your hard work and your service, and it’s a privilege to serve alongside you,” board secretary Devonna Holland said.

2014-2015 STAFFING

At another meeting Monday, the board discussed a staffing plan for the 2014-2015 school year.

District officials anticipate a growth of 1,146 students in the next school yer. To match that, they conducted a campus-by-campus analysis and developed a plan that adds the following 138 positions:

  • principal, office manager, associate principal, five other professional and three paraprofessional positions to prepare for the opening of V.R. Eaton High School in 2015;
  • 68 regular education teachers;
  • two associate principals, one each for Northwest High and Byron Nelson High;
  • two counselors, one each at Chisholm Trail Middle and Granger Elementary;
  • two assistant orchestra teachers, one each at Tidwell and Medlin middle schools;
  • nine elementary specials teachers – art, music and P.E. teachers for each Beck, Peterson and Roanoke elementary schools;
  • seven special education teachers;
  • six special education positions – a Brailist, physical therapist, two speech pathologists and two behavior interventionalists;
  • one STAR (Strategic Techniques for Academic Results) teacher at Peterson Elementary;
  • eight paraprofessionals – associate principal secretary, four campus assistants, receptionist and two P.E. aides;
  • nine special education paraprofessionals;
  • two pre-k assistants; and
  • 10 contingency positions.

The projected budget increase for the positions is $6,912,990.

The plan will be up for approval at the board’s next meeting, Feb. 24. Once further work has been completed on next year’s budget, officials will present a final staffing plan.

IN OTHER NEWS

During the Jan. 30 meeting, which was delayed from the traditional Monday date to Thursday due to a school administrators conference in Austin, trustees also:

  • increased by $35,728 the contract for enhancements to the Northwest High School subvarsity stadium. This includes mounting speakers on poles instead of the press box, installing an HVAC system in the press box and adding a discus and shotput area which conforms to UIL standards. The guaranteed maximum price approved last year funded all the essential work. Following its completion, officials identified several enhancements, which would typically be covered by contingency funds. “But every once in a while, we’ll have a project where we spend all of our money,” said Dennis McCreary, assistant superintendent for facilities, planning and construction.
  • set a guaranteed maximum price of $5,080,727 for expansion at Peterson Elementary School.
  • accepted a $100 contribution to the Northwest ISD Education Foundation from the United Educators Association in the name of the board of the trustees for school board appreciation month.
  • heard a five-year financial forecast and reports on December financials, construction and the crisis communication center.

At its meeting Monday, the board:

  • hired SHW Architects to provide the design and project administration for work at the district’s Outdoor Learning Center.
  • called the May 10 election for places 5, 6 and 7. Place 5 is held by Mel Fuller and place 7 by Devonna Holland. Place 6 is vacant, following the resignation of Kerry Jones.
  • recognized Susan Elza, executive director of health, PE and athletics, for being named the 2013 Region III and VI Athletic Director of the Year.
  • discussed changes to local policies, as mandated by the state. This includes board member authority, employee grievances and records, employee standards of conduct, reduction in force, teacher evaluations, school-day interruptions, grading and student attendance.
  • discussed the district’s strategic plan.
  • heard reports on the budget, construction and changes to district graduation plans as a result of House Bill 5. HB5 reduces the number of end-of-course exams students have to take in order to graduate.

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