Superintendent Shuffle: Former D135 Super Coming Back to the Job
Current superintendent will return to his former area in curriculum for the district.
Dennis Soustek, who previously served as the Orland School District 135 superintendent for about four years until Summer 2010, will be returning to his old position, pending the school board’s formal approval.
Paul Howell, D135 superintendent since Soustek retired, will be returning to his former area within curriculum for the school district, as director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. Laura Berry now serves in the curriculum director role, but will be retiring after this school year.
Howell wrote in an email that he first considered transitioning back to his former area when Berry announced her retirement in late 2011.
He said he recently asked the board to consider his transition, though he didn’t specify when exactly he requested.
“At the time, the negotiations process with the certified staff was ongoing,” Howell wrote. “Negotiations took a tremendous amount of shared energy to see through with a very positive outcome occurring just before winter break began.”
At the Monday Jan. 9 school board meeting, motions are expected to be made for Howell to return to curriculum and for Soustek to become the interim superintendent for the remaining school year, Howell wrote.
“My coming back and the goal the board has established is to help with the search for a new superintendent,” Soustek said Thursday evening. “And to, in the meantime, do the day-to-day care of the district. It’s a great district. I loved working there and I’m glad to help.”
Soustek said since he has officially retired he would not be able to work as superintendent past June 30.
The staffing change comes near the end of a lengthy dispute between the Orland Council of Educators and the district for a new teachers contract. Negotiations first began in spring 2011 and continued until Dec. 22, when after about 21 hours of discussion a settlement was announced by both sides. The contract terms have not yet been announced, before the teachers’ union ratifies it and the district school board votes on it at the Monday, Jan. 9 meeting.
In other district employment news, Melanie Walsh was not chosen to resume her former position as student services secretary she held for three months over the summer. The new secretary selection is expected to be voted on also at the Jan. 9 meeting.