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Posted on Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 10:26 a.m.

Saline Superintendent Scot Graden's contract extended to 2014

By Tara Cavanaugh

The Saline school board voted unanimously Tuesday to extend Superintendent Scot Graden’s contract through June 30, 2014.

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Superintendent Scot Graden

The board conducted its evaluation of Graden at its annual retreat on Aug. 17. The board evaluated Graden on meeting expectations and leading the district, giving him a 3.5 out of 4.

“Mr. Graden has done an excellent job of moving Saline Area Schools forward during a very tumultuous time,” board President David Friese said. “As a board and a community, we are excited about the future under his leadership.”

Graden earns $139,734 annually.

“The board has been consistently supportive of me since the day I started,” Graden said. “I appreciate the show of support and it gives me confidence to do my job.”


Mr. Common Sense

Fri, Sep 17, 2010 : 12:57 p.m.

SalineMom, Regarding matter of my supposed SEA topic avoidance: I'm not part of the teacher's union, let alone a teacher. I'm a member of the community with children in the school system who is concerned with the decision to extend the Superintendent's contract and my reasoning behind such concern. With regards to the SEAs involvement in the transfers, their potential input (good or bad) in the matter can certainly be a topic debatable by various parties. However, this is an article regarding the Superintendents contract extension and its from his office in which these decisions were enacted and passed down. Should a future article involve extensions for members of the SEA, then odds are Ill respond to that with questions regarding their rational behind allowing this large amount of involuntary transfers to occur. Regarding matter of the economies impact on the involuntary transfers: Shifting of job duties via teacher displacement is certainly a viable option to combat the loss of teachers whether it is from retirement or teachers simply leaving the district. But wouldn't you agree that close to 140 transfers (of which ~114 were involuntary) seems exorbitant? I just wonder if there is sufficient rational to justify that many moves. If you want to maintain the economy viewpoint - Can this amount of involuntary transfers really be linked to a poor economy? Regarding matter of SEA giving up paid training: The concession of giving up paid training does not necessarily mean training is no longer occurring. Id like to believe teachers are constantly educating themselves on the curriculum theyve been teaching, as well as varying ways to present it. The act of no longer being paid for continuing education does not impact student learning! Regarding matter of welcoming myself to the real world: So is your rational justification for these moves, "change is good for the sake of change"? I fail to see how that mentality lends itself to the ultimate goal of maintaining/exceeding the historical track record of educational excellence as displayed by post-graduation success and current success with regards to outstanding test scores. Regarding the matter of like assignments: Who's to say the teachers don't alternate their lectures and methods of teaching while in the classroom? Example for thought: As a hypothetical doctor, I could vary my lecturing and explanation of symptoms/diagnosis to several different patients with the same medical condition... but in the end, they're all getting the same medication to take home. Why? - because it works! In closure: We shall see how this all plays out. You too are apparently a member of the community with an active interest in it - and that is certainly good to see. I think we can agree on the hopes that any impact to educational quality is minimal/non-existent.


Fri, Sep 17, 2010 : 10:40 a.m.

Mr. Common Sense, Seems to me you keep ignoring the SEA involvement in all of this, which would indicate that youd rather blame the best superintendent weve had for a long time, rather than accept some of the blame from your own union. Hypothetically speaking, you lose 8 of 15 first grade teachers. Who do you replace them with? Student population is dwindling, you cant hire more teachers, so up the student count and re-assign staff. Im sorry, but you cant not play the economy card. Oh, I forgot, the SEA gave up paid training I guess that had no impact on student learning. the classes they have developed and honed over years of teaching? So, this would be the source of all the exact same assignments my children received over the course of 8 years in Saline schools? And Im talking the same copied sheets time and time again. Many assignments work, and the state requires certain things to be taught, but come on, lets do something new every once in a while. Change is good challenge yourself. I personally would like to have a say in whether my mind/spirit needed refreshing. Welcome to the real world (private industry jobs), where people get new job assignments all the time, both voluntary and involuntary. I assume you thought you could spend the rest of your life teaching grade X or subject Y? I will agree with you on one thing, Saline teachers are among the best and deserve a lot of the credit. Parents and administrators have a lot to do with that also.

Mr. Common Sense

Fri, Sep 17, 2010 : 9:17 a.m.

Saline Mom, Individuals who are entering the teaching profession for the first time do indeed bring with them some inexperience. However, wouldnt it seem more prudent to limit the amount of inexperience in the school system by minimizing the involuntary transfers of teachers out of their core subjects and the classes they have developed and honed over years of teaching? I would tend to believe the teachers involved in the involuntary transfers have indeed studied up and have prepared material for their new classes. However, my concern is not with the professionalism of the teachers but rather with the alarming amount of forced moves conducted and the rational behind them. To compensate for 30 retirements? Because placing a teacher in to a subject matter they havent taught in several years (or perhaps never) translates in to a better education? Requesting change to keep the mind/spirit fresh is certainly anyones prerogative but these moves were INvoluntary. I personally would like to have a say in whether my mind/spirit needed refreshing. Im sure the teachers, as well as many of us, are thankful to have jobs. However, lets avoid playing the in this economy card for this issue. This item revolves around the Superintendents decision behind displacing a very large amount of the teaching staff in to unfamiliar positions and being able to rationalize how this is an educationally-sound decision with the students best interest at heart. Its encouraging and comforting to know the teachers in this district have helped develop students garnering perfect ACT scores, students gaining acceptance in to colleges like MIT, being accepted for The Juilliard School and even making the semi-finals of Teen Jeopardy. Perhaps instead of imposing what seems like a radical decision to displace 114 teachers involuntarily, the Superintendents office should follow the principle, If it isnt broke dont fix it.


Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 9:27 p.m.

Mr. Common Sense, Each time a new teacher enters any district for their first job they are essentially teaching our children without ever having taught before and never teaching many subjects. That happens every year. The MEA/NEA mantra is that teachers are "professionals", so if they have to teach a new grade or different subject that they are certified for, I would suspect they would "study-up" a little over the summer to become pre-pared. They are "professionals" and it shouldn't be too much of a stretch to move up or down a grade or pick up another subject. Quite frankly, I think it is good for people in all professions to have "change" on occassion. Keeps the mind and spirit fresh. If you think for one minute that Tim Heim and the SEA stood aside and let Scot Graden make all the teacher assignments this year, you don't know the SEA very well. Besides, in this economy, I would be thankful that I still have a job.

Mr. Common Sense

Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 7:22 p.m.

SalineMom, I completely understand teachers can have multiple certifications which allow them to teach in multiple curriculums. However, is it appropriate education-wise for some teachers to be involuntarily transferred in to courses they have either never taught, or haven't taught in several years? It would seem more appropriate to leave those teachers in the courses which they have become experienced in with the idea that this experience translates in to a higher quality education. For example, would you rather have a certified mechanic with years of experience work on your car, or one which received certification years ago but has never serviced a vehicle? With regards to the SEA Contract, page 19, item C states, "... They (Board and Association) also recognize that involuntary transfers from one building to another may be undesirable and should be minimized. Therefore, it shall be the policy of the Board to take into consideration the desires and wishes of the teacher along with the needs and interests of the school system whenever such a transfer is made." Would you consider 114 involuntary transfers "minimized"? Do you think the teachers had any say with regards to their "desires and wishes" involving their involuntary transfer? Also, I understand the moves were worked through the superintendent's office - but isn't its leadership the root of my concern? Please keep in mind that while some retirements were due in part to the changes in the State's retirement package, the possibility exists that some of the retirements were induced by unfavorable curriculum assignments as part of their transfers. It's also logistically hard to imagine that 114 involuntary transfers were a bi-product of approx 30 retirements.


Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 5:22 p.m.

I am pleased that Scot Graden will lead the Saline Area Schools for at least the next four years. Scot is a person with the highest integrity, who works hard and smart, to ensure the best education for the Saline students who are our future leaders.


Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 5:02 p.m.

Mr. Common Senses, Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the local SEA contract on how moves are made and what teachers are certified to teach which subjects. All the moves were worked through with the superintendents office and the SEA. It is not often that 30 plus retirements happen in the same year. Please check your facts - this was all covered at several board meetings. I for one am thankful the Board extended Mr. Graden's contract.

Mr. Common Sense

Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 2:50 p.m.

This is certainly disturbing news considering this is the same Superintendent who proposed putting math classes online. More recently he decided to transfer approximately 140 teachers, of which an alarming amount of approximately 114 were involuntary. These involuntary moves placed teachers in to curriculums in which they had not taught in years. He's transferred members of the staff with several years of service at certain grade levels in to unfamiliar levels where the body of students are different in their level of maturity, have different forms of peer pressures and more importantly generally require a whole new style of teaching. It's hard to comprehend how these transfers can be good for a school system which has been educationally outstanding for so long. Instead, these moves create the possibility of ill-prepared school teachers who are hastily trying to adapt to their new curriculums and grade levels after being involuntarily transferred. It also creates an air of dissent and distrust towards the office of the Superintendent since these moves seem to reflect a man on a power trip rather than one with the school system's best interests in mind. I sincerely question the educational benefits of these moves. It's also disturbing how a Board of Education can seemingly let such a large shake-up in the school system go without questions and investigations. As a governing body with the purpose of protecting the integrity of the school, and more importantly serving as the checks-and-balances for the Superintendent, it has certainly turned it's head on this issue. Unfortunately, it appears this extension is not based on the evaluations of Mr. Graden's decisions referenced above, but rather the Saline "Good Ole' Boy" rational.... Perhaps the same platform which served as the justification for his initial hire.