The Central School Board agreed Monday to allow Superintendent Jason Fountain to not only refill the job he used to have but to upgrade the position, adding duties and potentially more pay.

The board voted 6-1 to convert the position of director of secondary curriculum and instruction to the more prominent job of chief academic officer.

The new chief academic officer would answer directly to the superintendent, along with Assistant Superintendent Sandy Davis and Chief Financial Officer Barbra Guyon.

In his old job, vacant since he took over as superintendent Jan. 1, Fountain reported to Davis, along with four other director-level positions and several school principals. The change moves Fountain’s old job from the third to the second tier of the school system’s organizational chart.

Board member Ruby Foil was the lone no vote Monday. She said she fears a repeat of criticism that occurred years ago, when Davis became assistant superintendent, from residents who thought Central was too small a school district to warrant such a position.

“I’m just concerned about how it’s going to be perceived,” Foil said.

Fountain said he may not elevate the position beyond the level of his old job but wants the ability to elevate it to help him recruit the best person he can.


The rest of the board supported the move largely as a vote of confidence in Fountain.

“When we hired Dr. Fountain, we hired him on the premise of we’re going to go from ‘good to great,’ and that’s one of the steps we have to take to do that,” said board member James Gardner.

Board member Jim Lloyd offered another reason.

“We hired a superintendent who is new to the position, and in my opinion we need to have as much support around him as we can possibly give him,” Lloyd said.

The new chief academic officer position, which is to be advertised soon, will deal with a range of instructional and curriculum issues in grades 6 to 12 as Fountain did before. But that person will have additional duties, including overseeing college and career programs such as dual enrollment and Jumpstart as well as a broad role in designing, implementing and integrating instructional programs across the district.

The new chief academic officer position requires a minimum of a master’s degree and someone with experience or a state certificate as a supervisor. And experience as a high school principal is preferred.

Follow Charles Lussier on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.