School district: Assistant superintendent titles reflect workload for leadership

Several members of the Federal Way School District administration team received promotions before outgoing Superintendent Tom Murphy left. The move was intended to reflect work they were already doing, according to district officials.

Josh Garcia, Sally McLean and Chuck Christensen all received the title of assistant superintendent in June.

"Those position titles were in line with the work they were already responsible for," spokeswoman Diane Turner said.

Turner said that in other districts the work they were doing would have already fallen under the capacity of an assistant superintendent, so the title change was an acknowledgement of their current workload. It was a way of aligning with other districts, and rather than adding responsibilities, it was more of a change in title only.

Garcia is the exception to that. Garcia had formerly been the Director of Teaching for Learning. However, this year Garcia is also in charge of overseeing all of the district's high schools. His new title is Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning.

Garcia has been instrumental in putting together the Standards Based Learning program for the district. He was one of the district leads in formulating the new program, and has presented each phase to the school board. He is also one of the go-to guys for the District Improvement Plan, which stemmed from failing to meet the benchmark set by No Child Left Behind for two years.

Turner said Garcia's promotion is, in part, a result of the Standards Based Learning program the district is putting into place.

McLean has been the Chief Financial Officer for the district for many years, but has also overseen some legislative action regarding school funding, among other responsibilities. Her new title is Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.

Christensen was the Executive Director of Human Resources, and is now the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.

Christensen has also been key on some of the district's improvement plans. He is listed on the district improvement plan as the staff member responsible at the district level for leadership improvements.

All three new assistant superintendents will continue to do their former jobs, and there are no new positions as a result of the promotions. Turner said that their salaries were already in the same range as other assistant superintendents.

Federal Way already has the lowest administration cost of districts of a similar size, and Turner said that hasn't changed.

"It's an acknowledgement of work they were already doing," Turner said.

Federal Way has had assistant superintendents in the past, including Murphy, who was an assistant superintendent before becoming the superintendent.

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