Cartnal appointed to newly created La Cañada Unified programs and services role

To meet an increased demand on La Cañada school campuses for programs and services that support students and staff, La Cañada Unified board members unanimously approved Tuesday the creation of a new executive director of pupil and personnel programs and services.

Immediately after the action was taken, the school board appointed La Cañada High School Associate Principal Jim Cartnal to the new position for a one-year contract that begins July 1.

With a requirement from the state for school districts to create a local control and accountability plan (LCAP) to direct and prioritize how state funds are spent, school board members expressed a need to create an executive position that would help accommodate a new shift toward encouraging students’ academic achievement as well as their social-emotional wellness.

LCUSD Supt. Wendy Sinnette said the position is ideally suited for Cartnal’s particular skill set.

Cartnal would have earned $125,305 for the 2017-18 school year if he’d remained in his current position as associate principal. The move, in line with his certified management salary schedule with the school district, increases Cartnal’s salary to $132,065, according to figures provided by Sinnette. He will report directly to Anais Wenn, assistant superintendent of educational services.

Jeff Davis, assistant superintendent of human resources, said Cartnal’s current position at the high school has been posted as open, and the district will “cast a wide net” in its search for qualified candidates. There are currently two administrator positions open at Oak Grove Drive campus, after Assistant Principal Mary Hazlett announced on June 7 she would be leaving to take another assistant principal position at Agoura High School in the Las Virgenes Unified School District. Davis said the district would start conducting interviews with candidates for that opening this week.

Sinnette said the district will incur a savings in the hiring of two new associate principals at the high school who will begin on the first step of the salary schedule. Cartnal was between levels four and five.

“It will be great having a target person for outreach and to certificate staff,” said Sinnette. “I’ve heard from professional colleagues and mentoring is something they’d like to see. It’s become so prevalent and necessary in our society.”

The executive director position is intended to touch all district campuses, board members explained Tuesday. Best practices from the three elementary schools and the middle school will become enhanced under the new position, said board member Ellen Multari.

Sinnette said Cartnal will handle an integration of responsibilities, including the districtwide coordination of LCHS’s Challenge Success program, coaching and collaborating with associate and assistant principals around the district, overseeing a mentoring program for new hires, serving as a representative on the La Cañada Flintridge Community Prevention Council and as a liaison with the PTA president on the parent outreach umbrella of communications, among other duties.

Also on Tuesday, the board approved the California School Employee Assn. contract, which included a 1% salary increase for the 2017-18 fiscal year, according to Davis. A new evaluation form was created for classified employees.

The board also approved the Confidential, Managerial, Supervisory and Administrative Assn. contract with a 1% salary increase.

In addition, the board unanimously approved a resolution to order a November election vote for a general obligation bond that is anticipated to help finance the district’s facilities master plan, which was unanimously approved for adoption in a second reading that night. The board also unanimously approved the LCAP plan prepared by Sinnette for the 2017-18 school year.

Matt Sanderson is a contributing writer to Times Community News.

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