New associate superintendent named in Purdy School District

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Mindi Gates to take on expanded leadership role

A new administrative position has been created at the Purdy school district.

Mindi Gates, instructional coach and director of curriculum and instruction, has been named associate superintendent. Gates will supervise curriculum assessment, professional development and teacher mentoring.

Gates, who has been with the district since the 2013-2014 school year, has worked closely with Superintendent Steven Chancellor on technology issues.

"Outside of education, no one knows what an instructional coach does," Chancellor said. "This will be clean title for her."

The position comes without additional salary.

Chancellor said Gates' duties will expand further as the district develops a professional studies program. Gates will be involved in securing more internships and externships for students, as well as job shadowing. As an ambassador for the district, she will interact more with the business community. The program will receive a pilot run this spring and start in earnest next fall.

Part of the challenge for the school board, Chancellor indicated, was coming up with an appropriate title. Generally, districts as small as Purdy do not have assistant superintendents. Chancellor described the difference between an assistant and and associate superintendent as only a semantical one.

"Clearly, she's the next in charge if I'm unavailable," Chancellor said.

While no additional staff will report to Gates, her directional duties will pick up responsibilities previously handled by the principals. To begin the current school year, the district combined the elementary and middle school principal duties. Now that Matthew Gower, who started this fall, has acclimated to his duties as high school principal, Chancellor called elevating Gates into the mix the next step in the plan.

Gates is working on a specialist degree to help equip her to handle additional duties. Chancellor observed that the title of associate superintendent is one given to fit the district's current situation.

"The board will not necessarily fill the position if either of us leave," Chancellor said. "Mindi has done very well in this role. The entire staff respects and trusts her and relies on her advice. I felt like the timing was right. It seems to fit. She's clearly been invaluable to what we're trying to do."

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