Hayden students have more than two weeks of summer left before they return to school, and it's a good thing because the Hayden School District has a lot to do.
Foremost on the district's to-do list is finding a temporary leadership solution at Hayden Valley Elementary.
The school lost Mike Luppes as its full-time principal Wednes-day when the School Board hired him to replace Scott Mader as superintendent.
Luppes has been acting superintendent since the board suspended Mader in early June pending an investigation into his employment. Mader resigned this week as part of an agreement with the School Board.
Luppes plans to meet with elementary school staff Monday to discuss possible leadership options, which range from appointing a temporary principal to hiring a teacher leader with Luppes supervising overall activities at the school, he said.
It's too late to search for quality principal candidates who will eb available to be in place when school starts by Sept. 7, so the district will not search for a permanent principal for the school until spring, Luppes said.
In addition to meeting with teachers, Luppes is in the process of scheduling an evening meeting next week to propose leadership changes at the elementary school and hear parents' questions and concerns.
In the meantime, Luppes is handling his superintendent duties while also preparing for students' arrival at the elementary school.
Luppes' superintendent contract is effective through June 2005 and stipulates he will be paid $80,000 for the job.
"All I've requested is a one-year contract, and that's probably how it will be in the future," he said.
As acting superintendent, Luppes knew there was a possibility he could fill the position permanently, but it was not necessarily something he aspired to, he said.
"It was not something I was looking for, but it's been an opportunity that has been presented and I want to do the best possible job in the position," he said.
Luppes has been with the district since 1987 and worked in the classroom for about six years as a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher and physical education teacher before becoming principal of the elementary school in 1993.
Though he is excited about his new position, he knows he will miss daily contact with students and is adjusting to the reality of his administrative promotion.
"We move farther and farther away from what got us here in the first place," he said, noting that he and the elementary students have time to adjust.
The many changes in the district have been eased with Troy Zabel now at the helm of the middle and high schools and Gina Zabel as middle school dean of students.
"Having Troy on board has been a godsend," Luppes said. "He has stepped up and moved right into the role of high school principal and is doing a great job at this time."
Luppes also is confident the elementary school staff will keep the school grounded throughout the transition.
"We have an experienced, quality staff in the elementary," Luppes said.
"They will do a good job regardless of the administrative structure."
--To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org