OUSD shifts principals, inks contract
By Bret Bradigan
Dr. Tim Baird's four-year contract
as superintendent of the Ojai Unified School District got the
unanimous nod from the board of trustees at Tuesday night's special
meeting, and he wasted little time in reorganizing the district's
In a memo sent to all OUSD staff Wednesday, Baird announced that
he was eliminating one administrative position and appointing
Doug Becker as principal of Matilija Junior High School.
The move leaves Jim Berube as assistant superintendent in charge
of secondary education, facilities and classified support. Jarice
Butterfield's position as director of special education will
be eliminated, and those duties will follow her to her new position
as assistant superintendent as elementary education and special
education. "As superintendent, I will be solely in charge
of certificated personnel (teachers). In addition to these primary
responsibilities, we are also dividing up many specific jobs
among the three of us," Baird wrote in that memo.
Berube had earlier agreed to take over in the fall as Matilija's
principal while retaining his assistant superintendent duties.
These moves still leave the district with one fewer administrator,
saving $140,000, some $30,000 more than the earlier plan.
Baird replaces Dr. Van Riley, who, after three school years at
the helm of the 3,950-student district, is leaving this month
to head the Huntington Beach Unified High School District, with
its 14,500 students. Baird will be paid $125,000 per year, with
$5,000 raises in each of the first two years of his contract.
Riley was paid $136,000 after two years, not including a tax-free
Becker's vacancy as principal of Summit and San Antonio Elementary
schools will be advertised "and I hope to have a new administrator
on board there as soon as possible,' Baird wrote.
Board member Bob Unruhe said the OUSD board was pleased to be
able to hire Baird as quickly as it did, within two weeks of
Riley giving notice earlier this month. "I'm satisfied that
we have a well-qualified person, who will do a good job. The
district has real problems facing it, but we have an excellent
staff and he (Baird) will have full board support on his plans."
Some of those plans have already been announced, such as a new
seventh-grade program at Topa Topa Elementary School, which will
emphasize environmental studies, service learning and outdoor
exploration. Others are still in the works, such as developing
specific "school of choice" courses at other district
schools, similar to the magnet school concept, and a language
Dealing with declining budgets and enrollments are priorities,
Baird acknowledged. "We're hoping to stabilize the enrollment
drop," he said, through transfer agreements with Ventura
Unified School District, and through "innovative programs
to provide the options parents want.
"I'm very optimistic," Baird said. "Things are
off to a good start. We have a great staff and wonderful schools."
The Ojai Valley News
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