School board member questions salary for new position

WOODSTOCK – A Shenandoah County Public Schools Board member raised concerns Thursday night about the promotion of a principal into a newly created position.

The School Board approved the transfer of Todd Lynn, principal at North Fork Middle School, to a new position, supervisor of student career and business partnerships, created in response to new Virginia graduation requirements that students, effective with the graduating class of 2022 (the incoming 9th grade class), have the knowledge, skill and attributes to be successful in college and in the workforce.

Lynn’s current salary as principal is $99,089, said Superintendent Mark Johnston.

Johnston said it was a lateral transfer, meaning Lynn would keep his salary, as well as benefits.

The position was presented to the Shenandoah County Public School Board with a salary of $89,490, said School Board Vice Chairman Richard Koontz.

“This position in our package is closer to $130,000,” Koontz said, questioning the discrepancy at the meeting.

Koontz was the sole vote against approving the personnel change.

Koontz stressed his vote and his criticism were not a commentary against Lynn.

“I would like to see us hire someone at the salary we said we would. This is way too much difference,” Koontz said. “There were other things we could have used the money for.”

Johnson explained the salary difference.

A salary for an open position is a cost estimate and varies based on experience and skills, he said.

Johnston said Lynn has years of experience working in schools, including 16 years as an administrator in various schools systems, and a track record of bringing in business partners.

Johnston said by funding the position the board is now eligible to apply for a grant to fund the initiative, including possibly a portion of the salary.

The position was not advertised before selecting Lynn, Johnston said.

Lynn has been principal of North Fork Middle School for three years.

The school did not meet school accreditation standards in the 2016-2017 school year. Lynn and his staff have been working since then to meet those standards and are expected to be accredited when official results  are released in the upcoming weeks, Johnston said.

Annemarie Noonan was appointed acting principal at North Fork Middle School. Noonan took over on July 1 as the new assistant principal at the middle school.

Her salary as the new principal is $86,664.