Gary school board approves administration restructuring
By Michael Gonzalez Post-Tribune correspondent July 24, 2012 9:02PM
Updated: August 26, 2012 6:25AM
GARY — New Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt got the School Board’s approval for more key positions in her administration, while also speaking of more to come.
The board also accepted ousted Superintendent Myrtle Campbell’s retirement as a teacher, just weeks after her tenure as school chief ended.
Some of the top positions under Pruitt will be consolidations of former jobs. For example, Nikita White, formerly an administrator at the City Colleges of Chicago, was named Gary schools’ new chief financial officer, with a $115,930 salary.
The new spot combines the work of former business services manager Alesia Pritchett, former chief financial officer Robert beach and a payroll supervisor.
Robert Doctor, formerly of Horizons Youth Services, was hired as director of vocational, technical and adult education for a $99,094 salary, and Marianne Fidishin was hired as executive director of special education and students services for $112,895.
Heading the special education program is a particularly high-profile spot in Gary schools, having drawn much attention due to issues the district has had with the Indiana Department of Education.
“That’s especially important given all the complexities with special education and state compliance,” Pruitt said.
Willie Cook was named to return to the school district as director of human resources and employee relations for $105,124, and Milton Patch will make $87,125 as coordinator of student transportation. Finally, Erma Patton was named executive assistant to the superintendent with a $60,287 salary.
The next high administrative position to be filled likely will be a director of innovation and improvement, a position that will work closely with each school building, while a chief education officer will be named later in the school year, Pruitt said.
Campbell’s retirement came after more than 30 years with the administration, where she started as a teacher. Late last year, a divided school board voted to end Campbell’s contract as superintendent.
The reorganization of the administration comes in the shadow of deep layoffs throughout the district. This year, the district has laid off 184 teachers and 22 administrators.