The following items were discussed by the Alexandria School Board at its July 15 meeting. For further information, call 988-2100.
NEW SUPERINTENDENT -- School board Chairman Timothy Elliott announced at a news conference that Paul Masem, superintendent of the Ames, Iowa, school system will become the new superintendent of Alexandria's public schools.
Masem, 48, was active in desegregation efforts in Little Rock, Ark., where he was superintendent from 1978 to 1982. Alexandria school and city officials have said Masem's experience with city school systems gave him the edge over two other finalist candidates for the top school post.
Masem has been credited with pulling the 5,000-student Ames school district out of financial trouble, promoting a tax increase to supplement the school's budget and expanding the role of parents and others in such tasks as school closings and reorganizing secondary schools, according to Ames school officials and Iowa newspaper accounts.
He will succeed Robert W. Peebles, superintendent since 1980, who cited health reasons for retiring from the $77,742-a-year post, running the 9,600-student system. Peebles will retire July 31 and Masem will take over Aug. 17. Masem will be paid $83,000 annually.
Elliott called Masem "experienced, intelligent... a sensitive human being," and "a man of vision." Masem was selected unanimously by the nine member board.
In an interview following the announcement, Masem said that narrowing the academic performance gap between minority and white students, which has been a priority of the Alexandria school board, will also be one of his goals. The city's school enrollment is 40 percent black and 40 percent white, with other minorities making up the rest of the school population.
Masem was selected from a pool of 80 candidates. He also has worked in administrative positions in several Maryland districts, including Hagerstown, Washington County and Montgomery County, where he was an associate superintendent from 1977 to 1978.
Masem grew up in New York city and has a doctorate in school administration from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. He is married and has three children.
BOARD MEETINGS CHANGED -- The board voted to change its meetings from the first and third Wednesdays to the first and third Thursdays of every month, beginning in September.
The board will not meet in August. The next board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 3.