Leader Blues

Monday, June 04, 2007

TOP STORY >>Cabot names high school principal

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

During his first school board meeting as superintendent of Cabot Schools, Dr. Tony Thurman named Zanya Clarkson his successor as principal of Cabot High School Thursday night.

Clarkson, an assistant principal at the high school for the last five years, was one of three in-district applicants for the position that became vacant when Thurman was named superintendent of Cabot schools May 15.

The other in-district applicants were Melanie Duerkop, interim coordinator of advanced placement, and John West, assistant principal at Cabot Junior High North.

“We only interviewed in-district applicants. We were willing to interview outside the district if a suitable candidate was not identified,” Thurman said. “We have a lot of strength in-district and Mrs. Clarkson was very deserving of this position,” he said. This is Clarkson’s first principal position.

She has been an assistant principal at Cabot Middle School South for one year, serving under Dr. Thurman when he was principal there. Before coming to Cabot, she was an assistant principal in the Pulaski County Special School District. She and her husband Randy have twin sons, Sean and Derek, who will be seniors at CHS this fall.

The Cabot School Board also voted during their special board meeting to approve an increase of $99 to the base certified salary schedule and add an experience step to each of the first four columns, bachelor, bachelor plus 12, bachelor plus 24, and bachelors plus 36.

This raise will be retroactive to July 1, 2006.

It will cost the district $60,000 to add the experience step to each of the first four columns, and an additional $85,000 for the $99 that is trust-fund money that the district is required to have per person. Karen Frey, representing the Personnel and Policy Committee for the district, told the school board they (the PPC) would like to bring the salaries to a more equal level by having only one separation between each column.

“We want to recognize that experience in the classroom is just as equally important as education,” Frey said. School board member Alan Turnbo asked if the district could not find an additional $60,000 to add a second experience step to keep a two step separation between each of the first four columns.

“One step is all we can do right now. We just couldn’t do two steps right now,” Thurman said in response. Thurman added that the second step is not out of the picture and may be added during the coming school year if the district finds they have the money for it.

The board also approved to give an additional 10 cents per hour to each classified salary schedule (custodians, food services staff, interpreters, maintenance staff, nurses, office/clerical staff, paraprofessionals, and technology staff).

Bus drivers will receive an additional 50 cents per day. These raises are also retroactive to July 1, 2006.It will cost the district $65,000 for the classified staff raise and an additional $9,000 for the bus drivers’ raise. A change to the certified and classified handbook was also approved by the school board that will affect the sick leave bank policy. In the change, certified employees and classified employees will each have their own sick leave bank.

“Teachers can join the certified bank if they choose, and bus drivers and those with additional positions will join the classified bank,” Frey said.