Superintendent fills out cabinet
More than a month after taking the reins, Rochester Superintendent Michael Muñoz has filled out and reshaped his leadership team.
The Rochester School Board last week approved the hiring of Jean Lubke as executive director of curriculum and instruction, and Brenda Lewis as interim director of elementary and secondary education. The moves come as the district prepares for the first day of school less than a month away.
It also completes a stepped-up hiring process that was triggered when a handful of top administrators left the district after the departure of former superintendent Romain Dallemand.
Lubke worked in a similar capacity for Eden Prairie Schools for seven years. For the past year, she has been employed in the St. Paul public school system. She succeeds Ann Clark, who resigned the post in June.
Lewis fills the spot held by Susanne Griffin-Ziebart, who left Rochester to accept a senior post working for former Rochester superintendent Romain Dallemand, now the leader of Bibb County School District in Macon, Ga.
Lewis, who has worked as a principal for six years, including a stint at St. Joseph Catholic School in Red Wing, will report to Hertica Martin, the district's executive director of elementary and secondary education.
There are no plans to hire a new director of staff development, a post once held by Dave Bernard, whose responsibilities are being folded into current positions.
"I think they will bring some great experiences and expertise to the district," Muñoz said.
The changes reflect a reordering of the superintendent's cabinet, the network of senior administrators who report directly to Muñoz.
During his tenure as superintendent, Dallemand reshuffled his cabinet to create two levels of administrators: a cabinet and an extended cabinet. The division surrounded Dallemand with smaller coterie of top administrators reporting directly to him.
Muñoz's moves reflect a consolidation and enlarging of his cabinet of senior staff who will advise and report to him.
"It looks like his cabinet increased, but it has not, because we cut a position," said school board member Julie Workman, referring to the staff development position.
Workman said the district has met the goal of cutting $152,000 from the Edison Building, a goal mandated by the board as it worked to find $5 million in budget reductions. Several of the district's administrative positions remained unfilled for months, helping the district save money.
Muñoz said he was "pleasantly surprised" at the quality of candidates, given the timing of the search and the tight timelines.
"I'm comfortable that we have such quality people that it will allow me to focus on a few other things, because I'm pretty confident that these people we hired are very capable," he said.