The Hermiston School District is introducing a new position to all five of its elementary schools — the dean of students.
According to district representative Maria Duron, the position was created to give principals and teachers more support due to increasing enrollment in the district.
Four of the five deans were hired from within the district, and Becky Bacon, the new dean of students for Rocky Heights Elementary School, used to work as a teacher on special assignment for the Echo School District, where her duties included coordinating testing for the district.
Bacon said the roles of the deans of students will vary a bit based on the needs of each school.
“With increasing student enrollment, we’re looking at focusing the deans’ role on student support, so the principals can focus on teacher support,” she said.
The deans will also coordinate Talented and Gifted programming, behavior interventions, and focus on improving student attendance.
“The district goal is to improve student attendance by five percent,” Bacon said.
Jolene Davis, a longtime teacher in the district, will serve as the new dean of students for Highland Hills Elementary School.
She described the role as a “bridge between students and teachers.”
While all the deans have their administrative license, or are working toward it, the dean of students position is not officially listed as an administrative role, but falls under the category of a teacher on special assignment. But Bacon likened her role to that of a vice principal.
Duron said the positions are permanent, and the deans were hired specifically for their buildings. She said the deans will get paid in the same salary range as an elementary school teacher, but will spend 10 additional days at the beginning and end of the school year. Duron said the salary range is between $37,354 and $74,560 annually, depending on experience.
There is also an existing dean of students position at Hermiston High School. That position was vacated this year by David Melville and will be filled by Blaine Braithwaite, who previously taught in the Stanfield School District.