The worst kept secret in Amarillo was that Dana West, current principal at Caprock High School, would replace the retiring Rod Schroder as Superintendent of Amarillo ISD. My sources told me long before Schroder retired that Ms. West was being “groomed” to replace Brother Rod—making sure her resume was “up to snuff.” My sources had the “inside track” on how Ms. West was “put in position” to replace Schroder—beating out Doug Loomis and Stan Chatman—show faces for the appearance of a “competitive” search. Well, the question now, as the national headlines have questioned, will “this woman” close the pay gap between men and women in Amarillo? What will Dana West’s salary be—inquiring minds want to know? Will Ms. West become the highest paid person in Amarillo—on the public dole—meaning salaries paid to folks from taxpayer dollars?
So, who’s at the top of Amarillo’s public dole salary heap? Well, Rod Schroder was leading the pack earning $291,845.42–according to a December 2014 Amarillo Globe News story: “School salaries: Central administrators keep districts running.” Next in line would be Jarrett Atkinson, Amarillo City Manager who reportedly earns $235,204. Next in line is probably Marcus Norris, Amarillo City Attorney, who reportedly earns $170,280.
So what is the job description for Ms. West’s new position, and, the obvious question, what does she bring to the table vis-à-vis the following:
“Requirements and Responsibilities For School Superintendent
Directs and manages a school district. Oversees all aspects of the district’s operational policies, objectives, initiatives. Responsible for the attainment of short- and long-term financial and operational goals. Requires a bachelor’s/master’s degree with at least 10 years of experience in the field. Demonstrates expertise in a variety of the field’s concepts, practices, and procedures. Relies on extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of tasks. Leads and directs the work of others. A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected. Typically reports to top management.”
According to a new Pew Research Study, April, 14, 2015, “full-time working women earn 77% of what their male counterparts earn. This means that women have to work approximately 60 extra days, or about three months, to earn what men did by the end of the previous year.” You can bet that the gender pay gap will be front and center in next year’s presidential election. The Pew Research, available at: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/01/14/women-and-leadership/ also says a lot about what it means to have a woman in a top leadership position. What will the hiring of Ms. West as AISD’s new super mean for bridging the pay gap—and for more women in leadership positions? What will it means for the City of Amarillo, for example, where 407 of the 512 people who earn more than $60,000 are white males—not one African American female? Or is this a “horse of a different color” when it comes to hiring and promotion in Amarillo—either with the City of Amarillo or AISD?
Well, let’s wait to see how much Ms. West is paid compared to the retiring Rod Schroder—and Jarrett Atkinson. Again, inquiring minds want to know.
Copyright 2015 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.