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Duluth Public Schools creates 2 positions to support principals

The district has posted jobs for elementary and secondary directors of teaching, learning and equity. These two positions will replace the director of curriculum and instruction.

Duluth Public Schools
Adelle Whitefoot / Duluth News Tribune

Duluth Public Schools is creating two new positions in hopes of providing more support to principals and to focus more on equity across the district.

The district has posted jobs for elementary and secondary directors of teaching, learning and equity. The positions will replace the director of curriculum and instruction, currently held on an interim basis by Jen Larva.

Duluth Superintendent John Magas said this change is being implemented to add additional support and accountability. He said the district has been working to meet student needs, but there are still opportunity gaps and a lack of systematic uniformity across the district.

The hires will oversee and support principals at their specific grade levels. Magas said the model of having two people focused on teaching and learning is similar to what he has worked with in other districts.

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John Magas
John Magas

Some educators are more familiar with elementary education and others are more familiar with secondary education, Magas said, which is why the positions are split among grade levels.

By dividing up the work, Magas said the new directors can help with particular challenges at specific sites.

“So we would provide that focused support and resources to help that principal and that team at the school address that challenge and address it constantly over time,” Magas said. “Then, hopefully, we will learn a lot and take that work and apply it to other schools and have that uniform best practice.”

Magas said equity is typically either a second- or third-tier department, with no power to make real change, or it's just a part of the work that everybody does and can get glossed over at a higher level. He hopes these positions will help equity issues be addressed immediately.

“We need to have an equity lens on every decision we make and not think about it after the fact when we realize there are kids we haven’t served,” Magas said. “We need to think about how we can make equity part of everything we do in a meaningful way, rather than just give lip service.”

The positions are posted through April 23. The new hires could be in place by July 1, the start of the fiscal year.

“We have an opportunity of a lifetime right here, right now to put leadership structures in place that will really have an outcome on better results for our students,” Magas said.

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Adelle Whitefoot is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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