PASADENA — Supt. Phillip Jordan this week unveiled a sweeping reorganization of the Pasadena Unified School District that includes the hiring of four highly touted administrators and the shuffling of personnel at the seven secondary schools.
The Board of Trustees approved the plan unanimously and enthusiastically at its meeting Tuesday, with board members hailing it as "a bold move" that could begin "a renaissance of education" in Pasadena.
The departure of three top-level administrators during the past year gave Jordan--who came to Pasadena from the Los Angeles Unified School District in February, 1985--the chance to rebuild the district's structure and hand-pick its top personnel. Two of the four administrators selected by Jordan had worked under him in Los Angeles.
"The man needs a team and we're going to give him a team," Trustee Anne Pursel said. "This is going to be the opportunity we need to do the things we say we want to do."
From L.A. District
The key player on Jordan's team is Philip Linscomb, who will earn $75,000 yearly in the newly created position of deputy superintendent of instruction after serving as chief instructional officer for the Los Angeles Unified School district.
Linscomb replaces Linda Davis, the popular and respected assistant superintendent of instruction, who announced her resignation last week. Davis, who had been with the district 23 years and helped implement its landmark integration program, will become the deputy superintendent of instruction for the San Francisco Unified School District, where she will work again under Ramon Cortines, Jordan's predecessor as superintendent in Pasadena.
Davis said she understands the reasons for Jordan's wholesale personnel changes.
"Just as Mr. Cortines has appointed me to San Francisco, I think that any administrator has the prerogative to build a team that best suits his management style," Davis said.
Like all of Jordan's selections, Linscomb is a veteran educator. He began his career with the Los Angeles district in 1954. His major accomplishments were revising the district's curriculum to stress "critical thinking skills" and attracting more than $12 million in educational grants in a single school year.
After supervising instruction for 579,000 students in Los Angeles, Linscomb will now do the same for Pasadena Unified, which serves 22,000.
"This opportunity came along at a time in my career when I felt I wanted to work in a small situation, to work more closely with faculty and parents," Linscomb said. "The fact that I had the opportunity to work with Phil Jordan again was also a factor."
Linscomb's motives coincide with the general thrust of the reorganization, which Jordan said is to place a greater emphasis on instruction and bring administrators into closer contact with the classroom.
One Job Eliminated
To this end, Jordan has deleted one position from the district's business operations and has created two new positions for administrators who will oversee instruction.
This move was facilitated by the departure of two high-ranking business administrators within the last year.
Instead of filling the vacancy created when business manager Peter Hagen took a job with the Lucia Mar Unified School District in Arroyo Grande last month, Jordan has fused the position with one previously held by Joseph Zaronian, the assistant superintendent of personnel services, who left the district last October to work for Prudential-Bache securities.
The new position, titled deputy superintendent for personnel and business services, will be filled by Robert Sampieri, who has served in a similar capacity in the Compton Unified School District for the past 3 1/2 years. Sampieri will handle all of the district's business operations, Jordan said, freeing the superintendent to devote more time to supervising instruction.
The other two new administrators are Lawrence Foster and Michael Klentschy, both from the Los Angeles district. Foster will oversee senior high instruction while Klentschy will supervise instruction at elementary and middle schools.
Experience in Integration
Foster has served as principal of Dorsey High School in South-Central Los Angeles and of El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills. Jordan praised Foster's work at El Camino Real, which was having trouble implementing integration when Foster became principal in 1982.
"It was a school in turmoil, there had been a lot of people who'd left the district," Jordan said. "In 1984, the Greater L.A. Chamber of Commerce chose him principal of the year out of 600 principals."
Jordan said the four administrators were his first choices for their positions, adding that he was surprised to get all of them away from their districts.
"I made a list of people that in my judgment were the best at what they do and in terms of what we need," he said. "I think I got the people who will move this district forward."
Board members shared Jordan's assessment.