WPS will offer a two-year extension to Supt. Jenkins

Thursday, October 29, 2009
By pete.legasey

The Winthrop School Committee plans to offer Superintendent Steve Jenkins a two-year contract extension according to Committee Chairman Patricia Milano. The offer does not include any increase in salary or benefits and would keep Jenkins in Winthrop for two additional years at his current salary of $174,430.

Milano said that the Committee would discuss the proposal and allow public commentary on it at their meeting on October 28. She left open the possibility that the Committee could take a vote on whether or not to formally offer the extension to Jenkins at that meeting.

“We believe that Dr. Jenkins has taken the School District in the right direction,” she said. “Some of the initiatives that have been put in place are ones that we agree on, such as introducing algebra in eighth grade and pre-algebra in seventh grade, as well as vertical teaming of curriculum across the district. Those are all things that we were interested in being implemented in the school district.”

Adding to the urgency to retain Jenkins is the current shortage of experienced, qualified superintendents in the state. Milano noted that there are close to 60 superintendent positions that are currently vacant or filled with interims in Massachusetts’ school districts.

Jenkins has been the Superintendent of Schools in Winthrop since January of 2004. He signed a three-year contract extension in 2007.

Milano credited Jenkins for assembling a strong administrative team that includes the principals at the town’s four public school buildings, as well as Financial Manager Kevin Meagher, Curriculum Coach Coni Moore, Information Technology Director Vincent Ruocco, and Pupil Personnel Director Lisa Howard.

“He has created a team that works together in a very cohesive manner, and that is difficult to do, especially when times are tough and money is short.”

Jenkins has received praise for consistently seeking out creative ways to improve the quality of education in the town despite limited funds. He was instrumental in developing the partnership between Winthrop Public Schools and Endicott College, which has allowed Winthrop teachers to take professional development courses in Winthrop (which have frequently been taught by more experienced Winthrop teachers) but receive graduate credits from Endicott.

Jenkins has also been at the forefront of the District’s efforts to join the state’s Math and Science Initiative, as well as the ongoing effort to obtain financial assistance from the Massachusetts School Building Authority for renovations to Winthrop High School.

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