Two people were hired for controversial new positions at two Waukesha schools by the Waukesha School Board Wednesday night.
Listed as Dean of Students, the new positions were a surprise for board members, who indicated after discussion the problem was mainly one of impressions and poor communication.
The board approved hiring a “Dean of Students” at and one at a , the only two schools to have such positions. Todd Pysora was approved as dean of students at Horning, transferring from the position of physical education teacher there. Jodi Callies was approved as dean of students at Summit View.
Those two schools were determined to need additional staff because of the number of students needing to be supervised, according to Superintendent Todd Gray. The district has talked about needing additional disciplinary/student supervision staff at both those schools since last year, Gray said.
School Board Member Barbara Brzenk said she was surprised to see two new administrative positions added, a concern shared by School Board President Dan Warren.
However, Chief Academic Officer Dana Monogue said the contracts offered were not administrative contracts and that the new deans won’t have staff supervision responsibilities.
The new role will include student discipline and other support functions, according to the district. A better term for the new positions may be student support teachers, Gray said.
In addition to more student supervision required at those schools, the problem may be one of the impacts of cuts the school board made in previous years.
School Board Member Joseph Como said he remembers voting on decisions to cut guidance counselors from eight to one at the elementary level and eliminating librarians.
“One of the things we really haven’t done is to assess what the impact is of some those decisions. And maybe what we’re starting to see are hot spots, trouble areas,” he said. “How do we handle those areas of weakness that are due to decisions we had to make to be fiscally responsible?”
Brzenk and Warren also chastised the district for the “surprise” notice from the district regarding the addition of new positions.
“This should have been identified as a potential discussion like we’re having tonight and communicated to other board members outside the committee that this might be a hot button,” Warren said.
The board approved the staffing changes in a 7-1 vote with Warren dissenting.
In other human resources actions, the board accepted the resignation of Diana Taylor, assistant business services director, who has taken a job with another district as business director, according to Board Member and Human Resource Committee Member Steven Edlund.
Edlund acknowledged her service to the district.