New Gary schools superintendent details goals for her first 90 days

2012-07-25T19:45:00Z New Gary schools superintendent details goals for her first 90 daysBy Carmen McCollum, (219) 662-5337

GARY | New Gary schools Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt has set an ambitious plan for her first 90 days on the job.

Her five overall goals include developing positive board and superintendent relations; interviewing key stakeholders; reviewing current data and evaluating programs; reviewing student achievement and programs; and reviewing technology, operations and support functions.

"That's my entry plan," she said Wednesday in her office. "There are several different components to that plan."

Pruitt, 48, who graduated from Gary Roosevelt in 1981, took the helm of the troubled school district earlier this month. She begins her day at 7 a.m. and doesn't leave until 8 or 9 p.m.

Asked if the work is overwhelming, Pruitt said, "No." She said it's a matter of putting things into place.

Under each of those goals is a variety of tasks. Pruitt also is meeting regularly with community members, the mayor, student groups, the union and EdisonLearning, the management company tapped to operate the failing Roosevelt Career and Technical Academy. The company renamed the school Roosevelt College and Career Academy.

She intends to host Talks with the Superintendent, meetings that will allow community members to ask questions. The dates and times of those meetings have not been set.

Pruitt also said she will focus on professional development for teachers and technology in the district.

The first day of school for teachers is Aug. 13, with a convocation at West Side Leadership Academy featuring best-selling author Darrell "Coach D" Andrews. Students begin Aug. 15.

Pruitt is putting together her team, and the Gary School Board approved six positions Tuesday night.

Nikita White, who comes to the board from the position of executive director of business operations at the City Colleges of Chicago, will become the chief financial officer for Gary schools at a salary of $115,930.

Robert Doctor, former director of Horizons Youth Services, will be the director of vocational, technical adult education at a salary of $99,094.

Marianne Fidishin, a former director of special education and special programs, will be the new executive director of special education and student services at a salary of $112,895.

Willie Cook, a former human resources director and principal, becomes the new executive director of human resources/employee relations at a salary of $105,124

Erma Patton, former middle manager in the Gary superintendent's office, moves up to the executive assistant to the superintendent at $60,287.

Milton Patch, currently the district athletic and activities director, is now the coordinator of student transportation for Gary schools at a salary of $87,125.

All of the administrators will be new to the district except Cook and Patch.

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