Gladstone school board awards early tenure

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone School Board granted early tenure to two teachers during its regular board meeting Monday night.

Cameron Elementary School kindergarten teacher Marci Downey and high school English teacher Dane Quigley were granted tenure during the meeting. Both teachers were preparing to move into their fourth and final year of probationary status but were recommended for early tenure by the principals of their respective schools.

The decision to approve the tenure recommendations was discussed during a curriculum and personnel meeting held April 12.

“With three years of ‘highly effective’ (reviews) you can advance (tenure), so we had a long discussion, and Dr. Kulbertis advised us appropriately that we would be sacrificing a year of observation,” said Board Treasurer Paul Capodilupo.

Despite the loss of observation time, the board voted to approve the early tenure recommendations.

“We thought that it was very appropriate that we honor the administrative recommendation and also in that way honoring the teachers and what they’re achieving,” said Capodilupo.

Both Downey and Quigley came to the district with prior teaching experience, which was considered by the board when making their decision.

“It’s appropriate to point out that both of those teachers came to us with extensive experience, but because of their working in another state or in a district that did not have the option of granting tenure, they had to start over at the bottom with regard to the tenure process,” said Board President Linda Howlett.

New hires – including teachers that were hired this year – are on a a different tenure track. The track increases the maximum number of years on probation from four to five.

“These are the changes that the state legislature had put forth several years ago – a whole packet of education reform laws that are just now coming out to play,” said Capodilupo.

In addition to approving tenure for Downey and Quigley, the board voted to approve changes in probationary status for 14 teachers. Five teachers were advanced to the next probationary level at Cameron Elementary School, two were advanced at Jones Elementary School, and seven were advanced at the junior high.

“Our building administrators are working very hard to make sure that they’re doing evaluations with all of their teachers the way they should be and they are really putting time and effort into the recommendations that come to us,” said Howlett. “As a board that makes our job a lot easier.”

Ten of the teachers who had their probationary status promoted to the next level will be eligible for tenure in the 2014-15 school year.