Flint pushes district revamp

PARKERSBURG – Incoming Wood County Schools Superintendent John Flint hit the ground running Tuesday, presenting a plan for revamping the district’s central office to the Wood County Board of Education.

The board approved a one-year $120,000 contract for Flint at Tuesday’s meeting. Flint, who was hired last month, will officially begin July 1.

Prior to the vote, Flint presented a plan for revamping the central office, something the board has debated doing for several years. Flint’s main proposed change was to replace the assistant superintendent of pupil and personnel services with a director of human resources. The change would remove many ancillary areas of oversight, such as nursing and technology, which has fallen under the purview of the human resources department.

Current Assistant Superintendent Bob Harris will retire at the end of June.

Flint said many of the assistant superintendent’s powers and authority would instead transfer to a new position.

“The solution is a deputy superintendent,” he said.

The deputy superintendent would have greater authority over issues that could arise within the school system, including personnel issues, Flint said.

“This position gives them a person who has the power to go into every director’s area and find out what is going on,” he said.

Flint said one of the main issues facing the central office is problems not being addressed in a timely fashion or not being noticed until the issues become disruptive.

“These people here work hard, but we need to have answers for each other, we need to have answers for people out in the system, and we need to have answers like that,” he said, snapping his fingers.

Flint said too many issues have gone unaddressed or were addressed incorrectly under the current system.

“We want to stop things falling through the cracks,” he said. “If you have people not dealing with anything but their own bailiwick, then you have things falling through the cracks.”

Flint said he believes in more cross-involvement with central office staff double-checking one another and communicating before issues go out of control.

“If we get eyes on problems we can solve them,” he said. “We should be remediating things long before they become a problem.”

Under the new system, Flint said, “what you have is a group of people who are involved and looking after each other based on a need, and the bow that ties this thing together is the deputy superintendent.”

Flint also said he wants more focus from those overseeing core curriculum areas, such as math and science, and reading and language arts. He believes those areas have been diluted with duties in other curriculum areas, such as physical education and health, which currently falls under the math and science coordinator.

The proposed plan would change the duties and status of nearly every administrative position at the central office, including creating a new position.

“I would like to have this in place by July 1 so everyone is set and in place by Aug. 14,” the start of school, Flint said. “If you like the deputy superintendent, that person should be brought on board as quickly as possible.”

Though board members asked questions following Flint’s proposal, no action was taken Tuesday evening. The plan will be presented at the board’s June 10 meeting as a discussion item and some of the new positions will be included as action items.

“I think we need to take this home and take a look at it. Get some ideas and generate some feedback,” said board President Tim Yeater. “There are some excellent ideas here.”