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Kyrene curriculum department welcomes new employees

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Posted: Saturday, July 23, 2011 4:00 pm

With four members of the Kyrene School District administration leaving for one reason or another, Superintendent David Schauer believes a shake up could have a positive impact on the upcoming school year, which, due to budget issues, could be a difficult one.

Kyrene Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer Karin Smith announced she will be taking a job in the private sector in May, Patricia Weegar, executive director of instructional services, and Theresa Sweeney, director of curriculum and assessment, both retired and the position of assistant director for instructional services, held by Lori Walk last year, was eliminated due to budget reductions.

“It’s always difficult to see great people leave,” Schauer said. “As tough as it is to say goodbye, it’s also an opportunity to work with someone with different expertise.”

While no one has been selected to replace Smith as COO and CFO, Schauer said that unless they find the ideal candidate, there is a chance the job could be distributed to more than one person.

“If at some point we decide we can’t find the right candidate we could think about restructuring responsibilities,” he said. “(Smith) had a great deal of responsibility and was overseeing areas with very little leadership otherwise. Maybe there are some better ways to organize. We will have to look at that if the time comes.”

Kyrene has searched nationwide for a replacement but to no avail. Jeremy Calles, director of business services, is serving her position in the interim.

Lorah Neville, director of curriculum for the Chandler Unified School District, was named executive director of curriculum and assessment. She was also a former teacher and administrator for Kyrene.

“Her background is unique in that she has expertise in technology as well as curriculum and assessment,” Schauer said. “She really wants us to be asking questions about current practice, such as should we continue what we are doing or something different.”

Jeff Peters was introduced as director of instructional services at the July 12 governing board meeting.

He is also a former Kyrene employee before traveling to work in school districts in California and then to work in the private sector.

“He brings a pretty unique perspective,” Schauer said. “He is not a typical educator. He is bringing in an outside perspective and has already started working on projects that need immediate attention.”

Schauer said they will go month-to-month in deciding a new CFO and COO or if they will shake up the position.

Stay tuned to the AFN for more information.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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