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Rocklin schools get new leaders

By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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Next year will be full of fresh faces at three Rocklin schools as two new principals and one assistant principal take over responsibilities. Despite being new to their positions, the three women are familiar faces within Rocklin Unified School District. Amanda Makis was named principal of Rocklin Elementary and Shari Anderson has been named principal of Valley View Elementary, both starting next school year. Laura Grassmann will also take over as assistant principal at Spring View Middle School. Makis, currently a fourth-grade teacher at Rocklin Elementary and service learning coordinator for the district, will be replacing Jim Trimble. Trimble is currently splitting his principal duties between Rocklin and Sunset Ranch elementary schools. Next year he will devote his full attention to Sunset Ranch Elementary as principal there, while Makis will take over Rocklin Elementary. In Rocklin Unified, elementary school principals earn an annual salary of approximately $85,900 to $102,000, according to district documents. Makis said she was honored to take over the Rocklin Elementary Bulldogs. “I’m excited to build on the successes Jim Trimble has put in place at Rocklin Elementary,” she said. Anderson will be replacing current Valley View Elementary Principal Chuck Kilbourne, following his retirement at the end of this school year. Anderson is currently the English Language coordinator for the district and also serves as assistant principal at Sunset Ranch Elementary. During last Wednesday’s school board meeting, Anderson told trustees she was eager to take on her new title. Both Makis and Anderson were unanimously approved by Rocklin Unified trustees March 16. Grassmann will replace Dave Stewart as assistant principal at Spring View Middle School. Stewart split his time between Spring View and Granite Oaks middle schools. “We’re getting quality people in quality positions,” Board President Greg Daley said. Also approved during last week’s school board meeting was a contingency agreement for California School Employees Association members to voluntarily reduce their work year by four work days during the 2011-12 school year. The four furlough days will save the district approximately $155,000 in next year’s budget. The four furlough days are part of a precautionary agreement. The memorandum of understanding states that “in the event the proposed ‘tax extension ballot measure’ be enacted by the voters and no additional reductions to the district’s 2011-12 revenue is implemented, the four furlough days will be rescinded.” Bob Lee, assistant superintendent of human resources with Rocklin Unified, said this shows a collaborative effort to help with the budget shortfall the district could face. If the tax extension does not pass, Rocklin Unified could be challenged with an approximately $2 million deficit. “All groups have had to come together to help solve the problem,” Lee said. Tiffany Pelkey, the California School Employees Association president, said the group is 100 percent working with the district in the current situation. “The membership definitely made their voice heard,” she said. District staff is also moving forward with a search for an Energy Education Specialist to work with the district and the new partnership with Energy Education, Inc., an energy-saving company. Trustees approved a job description and salary schedule for the energy specialist. The specialist will be hired from within the district and earn a salary between approximately $68,000 to $80,000 depending on experience level. Lee said the salary schedule is comparable to a teacher’s salary because of a few different factors. The position requires a flexible schedule – someone who can work weekends, evenings and holidays, Lee said. Staff also wanted to find a salary range that would appeal to people. “(They are) strategies that would attract the best person for the position,” Lee said. Daley agreed with staff’s reasoning behind the salary range. “The better the energy specialist person we have, the more money we will save,” Daley said. The specialist’s salary will come from the guaranteed energy savings the district sees from Energy Education, Inc. If the district’s costs exceed the energy savings, the company will reimburse the district. The next school board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6 at the district office, 2615 Sierra Meadows Drive in Rocklin.