ARIZONA CITY — When students in the Toltec School District return to the classroom on July 26, they’ll find a new district principal overseeing both Toltec Elementary School and Arizona City Elementary School.

The district Governing Board on Monday agreed to promote Toltec Elementary School Principal Misty Huffman to the position of district principal, responsible for both schools.

Huffman started in the new position this month and will be paid a contracted rate of $90,000 for the 2021-22 school year.

The move is aimed at aligning both schools and encouraging collaboration and camaraderie between the two campuses, Superintendent Denise Rogers told the board.

“I would like for both schools to be aligned with district policy and expectations,” Rogers said. “Staff morale at ACES is low and we’d like to build that up.”

Among Huffman’s tasks will be providing support and training to emergency certified teachers and building encouragement and confidence among the teaching staff.

“Professional development will be combined more frequently instead of site specific, which provides opportunity for staff to develop professional relationships beyond the school borders,” Rogers said.

Having one principal oversee two schools is also a cost savings to the district and will result in a better learning environment for students, she said.

The board also approved an accompanying measure to allow each school vice principal a $2,000-per-year stipend to cover the added responsibilities.

“The district principal will need to divide time between the schools as appropriate to the responsibilities and demands within this leadership role,” Rogers said. “It will be a very busy school year for our administrators.”

To be eligible for the stipend, the vice principals must have outstanding attendance.

“If there is a need for an extended absence, the stipend will be pro-rated accordingly,” Rogers said. “It is appropriate for vacation time to be taken when school is not in session, such as during scheduled breaks on the calendar, as approved by the principal.”

Each vice principal will also need satisfactory performance.

The stipend will be paid in two $1,000 payments, the first in December and the second in June.

In other business, the board approved a $5,000 contracted performance-based bonus for the superintendent for meeting several annual goals set by the board in 2018.

The board also:

  • Promoted Jose Angel Gutierrez from interim supervisor status to the district maintenance/transportation director.
  • Approved the 2021-22 Extra Duty Stipend Salary Schedule.
  • Revised the 2021-22 Certified Salary Schedule.
  • Revised the 2021-22 district calendar to correct an error.
  • Approved the district’s program for gifted and talented students.
  • Approved changes to the Employee Code of Conduct and Employee Handbook.
  • Agreed to renew a contract with Upslope as an employee discipline rubric tool.
  • Approved the 2021-22 preliminary budget.
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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.