Woodlawn principal named to Lawrence school district administrative role that was previously cut

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Post updated at 5:16 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28:

Jayci Roberson, principal of Woodlawn Elementary School in North Lawrence, has been named the Lawrence school district’s next director of elementary services.

The central district administrative position was one that was cut as part of millions of dollars in staffing reductions the school board approved in spring of 2022. The cuts to administration amounted to $577,441 — about 9% of the $6.41 million in total cuts.

“From listening to the needs and concerns of principals, staff, and families; and continuous review of student achievement and behavioral data, it is evident that the pandemic negatively impacted student social-emotional and behavioral development,” according to a Wednesday news release from the district. “The board and administration understand the necessity to provide additional support to meet student needs and maintain environments conducive to learning.”

Roberson will transition to her new role during the remainder of the school year, pending school board approval, and the district will start searching for a new principal for Woodlawn, according to the release.

Additional budget cuts in 2023 ultimately led to the closure of two elementary schools and a reduction of 50 teaching staff positions. The district’s Futures Planning Committee had recommended cutting one district administrative position, which would save an estimate of about $128,000. Committee members voted 69% to 31% in favor of that recommendation; however, Superintendent Anthony Lewis told school board members that he would not recommend that cut. 

“I think this board hired me to run an efficient school district, but first and foremost, to be fiscally responsible with our resources and our facilities,” he told the board at the time.

The district is also reinstating the position of director of secondary schools.

“After a comprehensive look at the present budget and reflection on the board’s financial priorities, the district will reinstate both positions to support building principals in their role as instructional leaders,” according to the release. “In addition to 10 contingency teaching positions added in the fall to reduce class sizes, the district plans to create lead teacher positions based on the priority needs of elementary and middle school students. Dean of students positions will support staff in the consistent implementation of effective instruction, intervention, restorative practices, and student and family support and serve as professional learning opportunities for teachers interested in becoming administrators.”

Roberson is in her fifth year at Woodlawn. She was Elementary Principal of the Year in 2020-21, according to the release.

“As Woodlawn marks its 100th year, it has been a profound honor to have served as its principal,” Roberson said in the release. “I carry the rich experiences and insights gained as I transition into this new role. I look forward to collaborating with the elementary principal team to lead in our commitment to serving our students, staff, and community, ensuring each student receives the care and support to be their best.”

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Woodlawn principal named to Lawrence school district administrative role that was previously cut

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Jayci Roberson, principal of Woodlawn Elementary School, has been named the Lawrence school district’s next director of elementary services — an administrative position that was cut in March 2022.

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