Taking its No. 1 goal to heart, the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) quickly hired Brenda Case as the new director of student achievement.
Case has helped other school districts reach their goals as a turnaround principal and consultant.
On Monday, the school board will officially sanction her hiring. She will be in charge of curriculum oversight and giving schools the support they need to improve test scores.
When Superintendent Ron Hitchcock started at PUSD this year, he made revamping the district goals his first order of priorities. From that effort, the board and staff agreed the No. 1 goal of the district was student achievement.
Case came to the attention of the district early in the year when Hitchcock hired her to generate a report on what the district needed to do to enable students to excel. She was one of three consultants to do this work.
“We hired her as a consultant,” said Hitchcock, “… at the end of that consultation she delivered ... a detailed three-year plan to accomplish her recommendations.”
Case said she spent time with the principals at each school to gather information on what the next steps would be for continuous improvement of student achievement.
She said the areas she focused on in her report included district administrators and evaluators, school administrators/qualified evaluators and teachers.
She said her action plan was based on one simple question: Were students at PUSD learning?
“The action plan was developed based on the premise that ‘Student Achievement is the Basis of ALL decisions,’” she said.
The decision to create the director of student achievement came from all three of the consultants who suggested PUSD hire a single person to head up reform efforts, said Hitchcock.