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Guinn moves to admin assistant

In addition to voting on a credit recovery plan and to join a CNP Consortium that will mean better food rates for Russellville City Schools, the RCS Board of Education approved an item that will bring significant change to Central Office and Russellville High School.

Two of the board’s personnel changes involved putting people in newly-redefined administrative assistant roles. One of those will be filled by Claudia Askew, who will transition from special education coordinator. The other will be filled by Dr. Tim Guinn, who will leave his role as Russellville High School principal to take on the new position.

“These are positions we have had in the past,” Superintendent Heath Grimes explained. “When I was hired on, the board talked to me about these positions that were open … we have three vacant offices in our Central Office right now. We have been running very lean.”

When Grimes took on the role of superintendent, he had to immediately fill two principal positions; the Central Office positions took a backburner, he said, so that he could have time to assess those positions and better determine what was needed. “I said, could we wait a year and let me see what we needed … what would make us run most effectively and efficiently,” Grimes said. “(The board) let me wait a year.”

In the interim, the system relied on Ramona Robinson for part-time support; Grimes took on several of the curriculum tasks himself; and Askew filled both her special education coordinator role in addition to fulfilling many of the responsibilities of the federal programs coordinator. “It was really unfair for Ms. Askew to be doing two jobs,” Grimes said. “This is a restructuring. I hope people understand what we have done: it’s actually making us more lean than we were three years ago. For a year we’ve been very lean, but we can’t continue to operate that way.”

Rather than hire an “assistant superintendent,” which the system has historically employed, the board opted to hire the two administrative assistants, with a specific division of labor.

“I am excited to be working with Mr. Grimes and the Board of Education and the direction we’re going,” Guinn said. “It’s a natural progression, from teacher to an assistant principal, to a principal, to a director, to eventually a superintendent.” Guinn said he will “miss most all of being a high school principal.” “The part I will miss the most is seeing the kids every day. I think the kids will tell you, every morning they will see me in the parking lot. I get to see them all get off the bus. And the rapport with the kids – I’m definitely going to miss that.”

Guinn said he looks forward to serving in education at more of a strategic level than an operational level.

The board has immediately posted the job for high school principal. “We really want to go into the summer with all administrators in the positions because there’s a lot of work to be done,” Grimes said.