MANATEE COUNTY — Walking from his office, Braden River Hig/h School Principal Jim Pauley paused in front of a picture hanging in the hallway.
Signed by faculty members, it depicts a train crawling slowly over a bridge made of people.
“It’s everybody working together,” Pauley said of what the picture represents to him. “Everybody has talent.”
And soon, Pauley will begin a new adventure, sharing that concept with administrators of local middle and high schools.
Pending approval by the Manatee County School Board May 14, the founding Braden River High School principal will become the district’s new director of secondary education, for which he will assist with management at all district middle and high schools. In his new role, which he will assume this summer, Pauley’s first task will be to develop a district-wide plan to ensure schools are safe and orderly, foster an environment in which students and teachers can thrive and also have high expectations for students.
“Mr. Pauley has provided a structure and environment at Braden River High School that is tremendous and we want him to replicate that at other schools in the district, as well,” Manatee County Schools Superintendent Tim McGonegal said.
Pauley said he will miss deeply the faculty and students at Braden River but also is eager to support administrators, unify schools and develop a strong plan for making schools conducive to learning and teaching.
“This is an excellent new challenge,” Pauley said of his appointment to a district-level position. “I’ve been school-based all my career.”
Pauley, who started as a teacher with the district about 26 years ago, served also as a coach and an assistant principal before opening Braden River High as its principal in 2005.
In particular, his time at Braden River, where he and his team worked to foster a sense of unity among students from two rival schools, has proven an invaluable experience for the future, he said.
“If you lay out very clear expectations and you’re consistent with those expectations, most people will accept them,” Pauley said. “All schools have high expectations. We just have to make sure everybody is in the same boat and we’re rowing the same way. Working together, you can do anything.
“Excellence is not a one-time thing or a part-time thing,” he said. “You do it right all the time.”
The principal position for Braden River High likely will be filled in the summer, although a timeline for hiring is still being developed, he said.
Under the recent appointment of new Assistant Superintendent Bob Gagnon, a former administrator at Manatee High School, the district’s curriculum and instruction division, now called the Division of Teaching and Learning, has seen some major changes recently, with six top administrators losing their jobs. Under a new restructuring plan, those positions are being reorganized into three positions, including Pauley’s. Dr. Robin Thompson, Manatee High School’s curriculum coordinator and reading teacher, and a former teacher at Braden River Middle School, will become the executive director of teaching and learning. Dr. Chuck Fradley, principal at Wakeland Elementary School, will serve as director of professional development.
The change is expected to save the district between $350,000 and $400,000 annually.
“We’re looking for the district to be leaner, but also more in tune with the needs of schools,” McGonegal said of the change. “We have a huge initiative coming up called the Common Core Standards. We wanted this team to be on board to write curriculum and do professional development that in alignment and an assessment that will be in line (with it).
McGonegal said legislation is requiring teacher pay to be based heavily on student achievement, so the district is working to make sure students succeed and teachers are getting the professional development they need to earn performance-based pay.
Contact Pam Eubanks at email@example.com.
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