Change coming soon to school district’s Student Learning leadership

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Changes are coming soon to the Edmonds School District executive staff.

Executive Director of Student Learning Lara Drew is being transferred to the district’s Human Resources department. Rob Baumgartner, who is currently the Director of Principal & TPEP (Teacher/Principal Evaluation Program) Support for the district, has been appointed to take her place.

Both have long tenures in the district. Drew began as a teacher in the district and eventually moved on to work in the district’s Student Learning department. She was eventually appointed to the Executive Director position by former Superintendent Nick Brossoit beginning in the 2012-13 school year.

Baumgartner also had years of experience as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in the district before eventually moving on to support principals through the implementation of TPEP.

“I approach this work with a sense of urgency to further build on the great work and practices that drew me to the Edmonds School District a year ago,” Superintendent Kris McDuffy said in an April 28 email to district staff explaining the staffing change.

In her new position, Drew will focus on recruiting, training and supporting teachers, as well as contribute to the district’s grant writing efforts.

“She (McDuffy) is looking to best utilize the staff and skills of the employees in our organization to fulfill the vision of supporting all students,” District spokeswoman Debbie Jakala said. “She is putting forward a new vision that we can all rally behind. She’s making changes that are placing individuals where they can thrive and support that vision.”

Teachers within the district have criticized the change, saying the appointment happened too suddenly and without their input.

Andi Nofziger, president of the Edmonds Education Association, said the majority of certified staff was “very surprised” at the change.

“Lara Drew is well-respected by teachers throughout the district for her knowledge of the teaching and learning that occurs in our classrooms every day, as well as her skill in designing and leading professional development to move adult learning forward,” Nofziger said. “Teachers are upset that there was absolutely no opportunity for them to provide input into the hiring of the person who is paramount to setting the course for instruction and curriculum in our schools.”

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