Curriculum director accustomed to new roles
By JUDY SHERARD
Interim curriculum director Shanna Dinkel is used to stepping up to fill an administrative need at Hays USD 489.
Dinkel started in the Hays school district as a language arts teacher in 1995 at then Felten Middle School.
Her interim administrative positions have included principal for a semester at Washington Elementary School in 2004, assistant principal at Felten during a temporary reshuffling of duties when former superintendent Fred Kaufman was out on medical leave and Kennedy Middle School principal in 2011-12, the school's last year.
Before being named assistant principal at Felten in 2008, she was coordinator of the Learning Center of Ellis County.
Though the title is interim curriculum director, the duties and responsibilities fit.
"As long as I've been in education, I've always liked the curriculum and instruction part of it," Dinkel said. "Some people dread in-service days. I got excited for them."
New state standards mean the district must "figure out what scope and sequence we want to teach it. What's the pace we want to teach it. We still have control at this level, but our new assessments will be designed with that in mind.
"The (assessments) we had last year, and the ones we're going to have this year, aren't the same that we're going to have next year," Dinkel said.
Superintendent Will Roth, who is retiring Oct. 1, had served as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction and was Dinkel's mentor in those areas.
The curriculum position was eliminated in a cost saving measure when Roth was named superintendent.
"As I talk to teachers and staff, this is one of the areas that they think has been neglected," board president Greg Schwartz said when Dinkel was appointed in August.
The district also has a new teacher evaluation tool, and Dinkel will be working with administrators to create uniformity in "what good teaching looks like in the district," she said.
Teachers should know "exactly what the evaluator is looking for."
Dinkel has started classwork to earn her district level administration certification.
"I don't know about the assistant superintendent or that licensure, but to me it goes hand in hand. If you're going to be at this level with the curriculum instruction, it's good to learn new things and get that next level."