On Monday, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda announced he is making organizational changes to provide additional leadership in the District’s Capital, Facilities, Operations and Technology departments.
Voters approved a $694.9 million Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) capital levy, the largest and most comprehensive in Seattle Public School’s history, in February 2013. This, along with the current Building, Technology and Academics (BTA) capital levy, has significantly increased the scope of work in capital projects over the next six years. To ensure that the district is organized effectively to implement this work, the Superintendent asked for two independent reviews of the district’s organization related to capital projects and operations. The reviews were conducted by the national Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) and a group of content experts from the Puget Sound region.
One of the concerns raised by both capital review groups was the significant span of control assigned to the Assistant Superintendent of Operations. Both groups recommended appointing a new cabinet-level position to oversee capital and facilities programs. In response, the Superintendent has decided to create a new department of Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning. The Assistant Superintendent of Operations, Pegi McEvoy, will now have a more reasonable breadth of responsibilities including Logistics, Transportation, Purchasing, Child Nutrition Services, Family Support Program, Coordinated School Health, School Climate Program, and Safety and Security.
“Seattle voters have entrusted us with their tax dollars and we are committed to ensuring that we have an organizational structure to support these capital projects,” Banda said. “That is why I am announcing a series of organization changes and an interim appointment that will provide immediate leadership while allowing time for a thoughtful national search process.”
Terry Burgess — President of Portolan Associates, an organization that provides business and operational consulting services to school districts and other organizations — has been appointed Interim Assistant Superintendent of Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning, effective July 23. In this role, Burgess will oversee all capital projects and facilities areas including maintenance, custodial and related functions. He will also have responsibility for Enrollment Planning, which is a vital component of capital planning. Dr. Tracy Libros, Manager of Enrollment Planning, will now report to Burgess. Burgess will serve in the position until a permanent appointment is made.
In addition, in order to place an increased emphasis on greater integrated program planning and coordinated departmental systems, the district will seek a Director of Capital Projects and Planning, who will report to the permanent Assistant Superintendent of Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning. When hired, that person will oversee the district’s entire capital planning and construction programs, including BEX IV and BTA III projects.
Lucy Morello, who has been serving as Director of Capital Projects and Planning, will continue with the District as a Senior Project Manager, allowing her to focus more directly on project-specific construction activities, a position that she previously held with the district.
The district anticipates filling both the Assistant Superintendent of Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning and the Director of Capital Projects and Planning over the next several months. For now, Burgess will provide leadership in both roles.
Finally, the Department of Technology Services will continue to be led by Chief Information Officer, Susan Wright, but will now report to the Deputy Superintendent. Additionally, the hiring process is currently underway for a Deputy Superintendent to replace Bob Boesche, who has served in an interim capacity since March 2011 and is retiring. An announcement regarding his replacement is anticipated in early August.