Fairfax County Superintendent L. Linton Deck this week was to unveil a plan school officials described as a "somewhat extensive personnel shakeup."
The plan, which goes into effect July 1, involves the transfer of several top administrators and a realignment of several school system departments. Observers say it is designed to streamline the Fairfax school administration and reduce duplication among departments. Deck was to present details of the plan this week in executive session with the county school board.
School sources confirmed that at least three top administrators are involved in the changes: Area II Superintendent Joseph L. King, who will become assistant superintendent for instruction and will report directly to Deck; Ron Savage, chief of the instruction division, who said that, at his own request, he will take a principal's job; Donald Lacey, Area IV superintendent, who will replace King as Area II superintendent.
Sources say several positions, including the top job in the Area IV, will remain vacant for the time being.
Deck could not be reached for comment but other school officials said details of the complicated movement of whole departments within the system would be released later this week.
Some of Deck's administrative changes were announced earlier this year when he created the position of assistant superintendent for vocational and adult education. That job has not yet been filled.
The reorganization under way is similar to one Deck initiated in his last superintendent's post in Orange County, Fla. Deck, who came to Fairfax from Florida five months ago, earned the respect of many Orange County educators for his reorganization, there and drew a favorable reaction from the Fairfax school board when it was considering him for the post here.
Deck has been praised by some who worked with him in Orange County as a "brilliant administrator" and a superintendent who "gets the best out of people."
In an interview earlier this year, Deck spoke about the possibility of personnel changes, saying he would "study the organization arrangement of the school system to see if it could be improved over time."
In addition to the top administrative shifts, George Hamel, of the school community relations office, confirmed that 26 elementary school principals would be moved next fall. Hamel said that is the same number of changes as last year and they are due, for the most part, to retirements and the closing of seven schools.
It was rumored among teachers last week that 40 principals would be transferred -- frequent shifts of principals drew criticism of Deck in Florida. Hamel said, however, that while more transfers may be made, it was unlikely they would approach the magnitude being rumored.
Many of Deck's southern admirers sayhis success as an administrator in Florida was due to his "team management" approach to running the school system -- a system wherein groups of administrators conferred on decisions.
King and Savage, in interviews this week, confirmed that the superintendent has begun using the same approach in Fairfax County.
"On any particular job or decision, a group of people play a part, rather than an autocrat singlehandedly making the decision," said King, who added that Deck's recent changes have heralded an "exciting" period in Fairfax County schools.
"I think we've seen glimpses of team management this year," Savage added, "(and) we're definitely going to see more of it."
King said he had not sought the transfer from his Area II position, which he has held for seven years, but neither had he asked that it not be made.
"Dr. Deck is a rather decisive person," King said. "I think it's fortunate that I was pleased with the move."