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Superintendent: Outgoing principal’s new job not new position

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Fields resigns from high school, named ‘director of district-wide programs and operations’

By Meaghan Downs

Former Anderson County High School principal Ronnie Fields will continue to work in the Anderson County school district as a “director of district-wide programs and operations” starting July 1.
Fields resigned from his position as principal on May 21, and the principal vacancy was announced May 29.
Fields had been the principal at Anderson County High School for the last three years.
According to Superintendent Sheila Mitchell, Fields’ director position involves some of the same responsibilities as an assistant superintendent, but with a different title and salary.
The district’s last assistant superintendent, Larry Basham, retired in 2009 and the position has been vacant since that time.
“This is not a newly created position, just a position that has been vacant with a title change and similar but different job duties,” Mitchell said via e-mail.
The school board voted to update the job description for the director of district-wide programs and operations during the May 20 board meeting, she said.
Fields will not be the superintendent’s second-in-command in Mitchell’s absence, a role an assistant superintendent would be required to fill.
Rather, Fields will be responsible for buildings, grounds, safety and security for the district including conducting monthly safety audits, she said.
Mitchell said no new school safety policies have been put in place as a result of the filled director position.
According to the job description, the director of district-wide programs and operations will also serve as a “school liaison” for outside community agencies such as law enforcement, emergency management, hospitals and fire departments.
Fields will also be the Safe Schools Coordinator, overseeing safety plans for central office, adult/community education, schools, transportation and maintenance.
Other responsibilities for the director include supervising district programs in the areas of “facility, safety, vocational education, adult/community education, alternative program, resource officers, daycare programs, board vehicle usage and communication/public relations.”
Fields will also be the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) coordinator.
The job description also notes Fields’ director position reports to the superintendent.
As she considered putting someone in the role of director, Mitchell said she asked Chief Financial Officer Nick Clark to include funding for the director position for the 2013-2014 school year. The director’s position salary is $88,155.15 for the year, according to Mitchell.
“With all the unfortunate tragedies that happened, we wanted someone who could focus on safety and security for our school district,” Mitchell said of Fields’ new administrative role at the Board of Education.   
The site-based decision-making council at Anderson County High School is scheduled to meet this Wednesday to begin the selection process for a new high school principal to replace Fields, according to Mitchell.