Mandan News

Wilfred Volesky: Assistant superintendent job responsibilities

Beginning July 1, the Mandan School District will have a new administrator that will begin his employment in our district. This new administrator is Dr. Mike Bitz, who will assume the role of assistant superintendent. Dr. Bitz comes to us from the Hillsboro School District, where he has been the superintendent for the past 11 years.

Dr. Bitz graduated from the University of Mary with an elementary education degree in 1988. In 1994 he earned a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Mary and received his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota in 2008.  He has been a superintendent in North Dakota schools for the past 14 years. Throughout his administrative career he has served on numerous state boards. He currently serves on the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board, to which he was appointed by Governor John Hoeven in 2008.

The Assistant Superintendent position is a new position in our district. When the school board gave their approval to hire this individual, there was some discussion in the community about whether this position was needed. I certainly understand this concern. However, as Superintendent I believe that if we want to continue to make changes in our district that will have a positive impact on how students learn, it cannot be done without additional assistance. Requirements of the No Child Left Behind Program, the increase in accountability for all Federal and State Programs, the need to use data to make educational changes as well as evaluate programs and to work collaboratively with teachers and staff to improve student achievement cannot be accomplished with our present administrative staff.

Now that Dr. Bitz has been hired, you may be wondering what his duties will be. I will provide you with the details of the major duties that Dr. Bitz will be assigned.

His major responsibility will be to work with elementary principals, teachers and staff to evaluate current programs to make sure they are effective and enable all elementary students to be successful academically. This will require him to work collaboratively with elementary staff to review data and to develop goals for each elementary school that are designed to increase student achievement. To successfully meet these goals it will be necessary to schedule quality, targeted professional development for staff so they are aware of and familiar with new methodology they will be expected to use. As supervisor of the elementary programs, Dr. Bitz will be involved in the selection, evaluation, assignment and dismissal of elementary principals, teachers and elementary classroom support personnel. With Dr. Bitz supervising the elementary schools, I will have a better opportunity to work with middle school and high school principals, teachers and support personnel.

The elementary teachers and staff have been working on establishing what the most important standards are in our core academic areas. There are many standards that could be taught in every academic area. Dr. Bitz and the elementary administrators and teachers will be responsible to prioritize and refine the standards that we feel are the most important for our students to master at every grade level in order for them to be successful students and successful citizens in adulthood.

Another major responsibility will be to monitor elementary class size numbers. We currently have very large numbers in our early elementary grades. Based on the births in Morton County the last several years, it appears that our elementary enrollment will continue to increase. This past school year our enrollment in kindergarten and first grade classrooms were larger than what is appropriate for properly educating these students. This issue was addressed by developing new elementary enrollment boundaries that will be implemented for the 2010-11 school year. Elementary enrollment will continue to be a problem that Dr. Bitz will need to monitor closely.

Dr. Bitz will be the technology coordinator in our district. He will work with the technology staff and the Technology Committee to continue to develop and implement strategies that will help our teachers use technology to enhance learning in each classroom. This will include assisting the technology personnel with recommending future purchases of software and hardware annually.

Dr. Bitz will be in attendance at all school board meetings. He will be requested to provide the school board with a report on the work and important issues that are being addressed at the elementary level. On occasion he will be asked to provide a report on other programs he monitors, such as home education, district level assessment program and the use of data in our district.

As I mentioned above, Dr. Bitz will begin his duties on July 1. I hope that you take the opportunity to introduce yourself to Dr. Bitz and welcome him to the district when you see him at the different schools. I am confident that Dr. Bitz will prove to be a valuable addition to our administrative staff.