Schools hope to nix job of teacher-administrator Dual role called too demanding

January 03, 1993|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Staff Writer

In an effort to improve efficiency, the Harford County public school system wants to eliminate the dual role of teacher-administrator next fiscal year.

In some county schools, teachers double as part-time vice principals, a role that requires them to divide their time between teaching in the classroom and performing administrative duties in the office.

Charles W. Connolly of Bel Air Elementary School is a teacher-administrator. In the morning, he is the assistant principal helping to manage the school and its 750 students. In the afternoon, he becomes a teacher, responsible for three fifth-grade classes.

"Trying to do two completely separate jobs is very, very difficult," he said. "Especially when you set a high level of expectations for both jobs."

Next year, the school system wants to upgrade all part-time assistant principals, like Mr. Connolly, to full-time assistant principals.

"The amount of work we are asking part-time assistant principals to do is staggering," said Albert F. Seymour, spokesman for school system. He said Harford County has always had part-time assistant principals at the elementary level.

"The two jobs, teaching and administration, were combined to save money," Mr. Seymour said. He said they've been that way for as long as he can remember.

However, running a school has become increasingly complicated and requires full-time administrative help, he said.

That's welcome news to Mr. Connolly, who has been a part-time assistant principal at Bel Air Elementary for three years.

"In three years I have not sat down at lunchtime. I walk the cafeteria with a container of yogurt in my hands," he said.

In addition to cafeteria duty, Mr. Connolly sacrifices his two weekly planning periods to do office work, not plan for classes.

In the evening, like most teachers, he grades papers and plans forthe next day's class.

But Mr. Connolly, who has taught for 22 years, also has to pick up administrative duties, such as arranging for substitute teachers.

Andre A. Fournier, president of the Harford County Council of PTAs, said full-time assistant principals are long overdue.

"It is ludicrous to expect anyone to teach half a day and do administrative duties the other half," he said. "I would challenge anyone to have a multifunction job and see how well they do."

There are part-time assistant principals at 11 of the county's 28 elementary schools. Ray R. Keech, superintendent of the school system, has proposed upgrading them in the 1993-1994 school year budget.

L A budget proposal will be presented to the board this month.

This year's operating budget is $147 million.

Mr. Keech also has asked for a full-time assistant principal for Forest Hill Elementary School. This school has never had an assistant principal, Mr. Seymour said.

The budget also seeks full-time assistant principals for Church Creek Elementary in Belcamp, Fountain Green in Elementary in Bel Air, and Fallston Middle School. These new schools open next year.

At the high school level, the budget calls for hiring a third full-time assistant principal at Aberdeen High and upgrading the part-time assistant principal at North Harford High to full time, Mr. Seymour said.

The county's other middle and high schools have two full-time assistant principals each, he said.

Full-time assistant principals make about $47,000 a year, he said.

A part-time assistant principal gets $23,000 plus half of the applicable teacher's pay. The teacher's pay is determined by how long the assistant principal worked as a teacher.

The 11 schools where part-time assistant principals would become full-time are: Bakersfield Elementary in Aberdeen, Bel Air Elementary, Deerfield Elementary in Edgewood, Jarrettsville Elementary, Joppatowne Elementary, Magnolia Elementary in Joppa, Meadowvale Elementary in Havre de Grace, North Bend Elementary in Jarrettsville, Ring Factory Elementary in Bel Air, Riverside Elementary in Joppa, and William S. James in Abingdon.

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