Some Richmond Community Schools board members didn’t feel they had enough time to review eight changes of assignments for administrators before voting on them.

During RCS’ June 19 meeting, John Weber motioned to approve other hires, resignations, etc., but to table administration changes until the July 10 meeting. Peter Zaleski seconded. 

Weber said information had just arrived for board members’ consideration. Zaleski said they didn’t get key details such as salaries until about 3 ½ hours before the meeting.

“We just can’t process information that way,” Weber said. 

Weber noted the additional employment report, which contained administration changes, wasn’t posted on the district’s website where the public can review agenda items at least 48 hours before each meeting. 

However, Weber’s motion failed 4-3, only garnering support from himself, Zaleski and Kym Pickering. Austin Brann, Kristen Brunton, Aaron Stevens and Nicole Stults voted no. 

Another vote was taken to approve all the changes. Weber recused himself, and it passed 4-2. 

What was approved: 

* Elizabeth Markward from chief of exceptional student education to assistant superintendent of elementary education

* Cassandra Laudermilk from principal at Hibberd and Carrie Wolfe from district educational diagnostician to co-directors of exceptional education learning

* Melissa Swafford from interim chief financial officer to director of finance

* Steven Hensley from director of STEAM and imagination to principal at Hibberd

* William Wright from director of student support to middle school athletic director

* Bridget Hazelbaker from communications and marketing coordinator to director of student support/communications

* Stacy Mopps from interim chief human resources officer to director of human resources

During the public comment portion of the meeting, parent Emily Christian questioned the changes, acknowledging she didn’t know if Laudermilk wanted to take on a new role. She said it seemed staff, students and parents were just getting acquainted with her as Hibberd principal.   

Christian said she feels it’s important for principals “to have stability and stay where they’re loved and love working” and that Laudermilk had the knowledge to work with Hibberd’s high-ability students.

In addition, RCS hired Robert Lee as athletic director and approved an adjunct teacher salary schedule for 2024-2025.

Adjunct teachers will make $37,200, $39,525, $41,850 or $44,175, depending on the number of college credit hours they’ve earned, along with at least four years of experience.  

Certified teachers with a bachelor’s degree and license/emergency permit and no years of experience will earn $46,000. 

Science concern

RCS parent Michael Lerner, who is a professor of physics and engineering at Earlham College, noted deep concerns about Richmond High School not offering physics or environmental science classes this fall because the teacher is moving to Dennis Middle School. 

Lerner said he understands teacher shortages and curriculum changes, but in a STEM-based world, physics is fundamental science, and some schools have students take it before biology or chemistry. 

Lerner also said it’s hard to overstate the importance of environmental science for students’ job opportunities and a better understanding of today’s world.

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A version of this article appeared in the June 26 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.