Tahoe-Truckee schools to shuffle executive structure amid departures | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee schools to shuffle executive structure amid departures

Rob Leri

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Click here for more information on the upcoming leadership changes in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, via its March Education Connection e-newsletter.

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Upcoming departures of three longtime employees will allow the school district to reorganize its executive leadership structure, thereby saving money, officials said this week.

Tom Gemma, executive director of administrative services for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, and Susan Phebus, principal of Donner Trail Elementary School and on special assignment for district California Common Core implementation, are voluntarily retiring, according to TTUSD

Meanwhile, Dave Curry, executive director of educational services, is resigning to pursue newly presented opportunities.

All three will leave the district at the end of June, said Rob Leri, TTUSD superintendent. Combined, they have 100 years of service in education.

“We’re really sorry to see (these) people leave,” Leri said. “The timing of it is providing us an opportunity to refocus the leadership structure at the district office and moving the emphasis to educational services, (which) I think speaks directly to what our vision and beliefs state.”


Gemma’s departure means the district will dissolve its Administrative Services division, which was created in 2012 in response to prior TTUSD resignations to oversee human resources; the business office; facilities, maintenance and operations; transportation; and food services, Leri said.

The new TTUSD structure will continue with three divisions — Business Services, Student Services and Educational Services, with human resources reporting to Leri.

Curry’s position will be redesignated as Deputy Chief Learning Officer of Educational Services, serving as the district’s second in command, in charge of teaching and learning, Leri said.

“Deputy Chief Learning Officer … is an attractive position for qualified candidates, but it also emphasizes that our business is teaching and learning,” he said. “The No. 2 person in the district has really been Tom, (and) with Tom’s departure, we’re going to refocus that; it’s going to be in (educational) services.”

As for Phebus, only her part-time position as Donner Trail principal will be filled, not her special Common Core assignment, Leri said.


The reorganization will aid the district’s effort to cut roughly $1.1 million in expenditures to help reduce deficit spending, while protecting class sizes for the 2015-16 school year.

The new Business Services alignment will save the district $171,000 in ongoing general fund expenses, Leri said, and the discontinuation of Phebus’ special assignment, which was a one-time specially state funded effort, will save roughly $100,000.

“When everything is done across the district office, there will be two less administrators, which is included in our budget planning,” he explained.

Other planned reductions involve supplies and professional services cuts such as consultants, according to the district.

Leri will recommend in-house appointments for Donner Trail principal and Executive Director of Business Services, with the TTUSD board of trustees likely voting either this month or next, he said.

On Tuesday, the district advertised the Deputy Chief Learning Officer position. Applicants will go through a “very complete and thorough process” that will include a paper screening, panel interviews and performance appraisals that will involve staff, teachers, administrators and parents, before moving onto finalist interviews, Leri said.

An appointment recommendation from Leri is anticipated to go before the TTUSD board at its May 6 meeting.

It’s expected all three hires will start their new roles July 1, Leri said.

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