Principal approved for dual role after Bates' retirement

Green Lake School will merge the district administrator and high school principal into one position effective 2016-17, along with other administrative changes.

School Board members made it official June 17, amid news that nine-year District Administrator (Superintendent) Ken Bates plans to retire at the end of this coming school year.

High school Principal/Special Education Director Mary Allen was simultaneously tapped to take Bates’ place at that time.

The positions will be combined in a decision that generated, essentially, no public discussion from the board. School leaders later acknowledged much of Bates’ succession plan and the overall administrative restructuring strategy had been pieced together in closed session. Read a related article HERE.

In public June 17, the board quietly voted 7-0 on a restructuring plan that’s expected to save close to $200,000 over the next two years. Bates explained that for this coming school year (2015-16), he’ll remain as district administrator, while Allen picks up additional days to assume more duties in the area of budget and staff evaluation — in a “job shadowing” sense.

During that time, Allen will be going to school to earn her administrator’s license, and expects to have it by mid-year of her first full year as district administrator.

“From what I understand, I’d be able to get an ‘emergency license’ [to bridge the gap],” Allen said.

Meanwhile, elementary teacher Gina Baxter will continue to teach but will become the elementary curriculum coordinator. Also, special education teacher Chris Schultz will receive increased duties.

Then for 2016-17, when Bates has retired, Allen will become full district administrator and high school principal, while Baxter will be elementary principal and curriculum coordinator. It’s a significant shift that will be implemented over the next two school years.

“It just makes sense, at this time, for us to have a nice smooth transition and not go outside and do a search [for a new district administrator],” Bates said.

Bates has been the head of Green Lake School since 2006, meaning he will have served for 10 years upon retirement.

Even with Allen, Baxter and Schultz now receiving contract increases, Bates emphasized that with his coming departure — and Allen filling dual roles as district administrator and high school principal — it’s still a savings.

Additional retirements and staff realignments are expected to create other savings, Bates noted. Total, it’s close to $200,000 in savings over the next two years, he said.

“All in all, even with increasing these [contract] days, we’re still saving some money in personnel ... It’s restructuring our administrative team but also using staff changes to save some money,” Bates said.

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