JCPS struggles to fill high-dollar jobs, but promises to do so b - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS struggles to fill high-dollar jobs, but promises to do so by end of 2015

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's the team that makes the educational decisions for 100,000 children in Louisville, but lately it's been lacking several key leaders.

Jefferson County Public Schools has been in a struggle to fill some of its most high-dollar jobs, but efforts were underway today to fix that problem.

At Seneca High School, they call it the war room: the place where teachers step away from kids and study their test results to better scores in the classroom. 

It's what makes Dr. Dena Dossett's job important. On Monday, JCPS named Dossett Chief of Data Management, Planning and Evaluation. 

"I just see this as the next step in moving forward and providing support for our students," Dossett said.

The appointment of a 15-year employee addresses some of the holes in the district's leadership. Consider it like Superintendent Donna Hargens' cabinet: a handful of positions making the most important decisions for the $1 billion school system. The problem is that nearly half the seats at the table are empty. 

"We've been waiting half a year almost on positions to be filled, and I think the board has communicated a sense of urgency," said JCPS board member Linda Duncan.

The position of Chief Academic Officer for the district is one of the vacancies. Dewey Hensley abruptly quit after JCPS underperformed in the latest round of state test results. His resignation letter slammed the district saying, "It has been a time of marginalized voices, eroded credibility," -- and that the district spent more time managing public perception than developing quality schools.

"We don't look totally stable when jobs only last a year for individuals and that causes people to pause," Duncan said. "Dewey's letter kind of summarized the feeling."

While Hargens says there are plenty of people wanting to work at JCPS, on Monday, she was asking the board to approve an outside search firm to help find them. 

"We develop high-performing teams from the board level to the school level and the cabinet needs to be that as well," she said.

We pressed about morale in the district and Hensley specifically. 

"Any takeaway from Dewey?" asked WDRB's Gilbert Corsey.

"She did a statement on Dewey and that's where it's going to go for now," replied JCPS spokesperson Bonnie Hackbarth. "Any other questions on Dr. Dossett?"

Hargens does say the positions will be filled by the end of 2015, meaning more clarity at the top to help the teachers in the war room. 

Dossett replaces Bob Rodosky who retired. She'll make $154,000 a year, taxpayer funded. 

Copyright 2015 by WDBR News. All rights reserved.

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