How Many Aides Does It Take To Educate A Superintendent?

HCSBoard Seal

Ah one. Ah two. Ah three.

Please continue to ask questions of your schools about the staffing of your kids’ classrooms (and if you can, share the information you get with us here). When you ask about your child, keep this in mind:

  • The number of Instructional Assistants system wide has been cut in half from last year, but the number of students with an IEP has increased.
  • The ratio of Instructional Assistants to student in Resource Rooms system wide are running 3 aides to every 10 students in a resource room. This is a 3.33:1 Students to Aide ratio. In many classrooms this jumps to 4.5:1. For students who are in inclusion classrooms the ratio jumps to something like 20:1.
  • The typical Instructional Assistant costs the system $10,000.00.

In light of this, it might prove an interesting to ask, how many “aides” does Dr. Wardynski have? If he were a student in my son’s classroom, he would have approximation one-third of an aide to assist him at a cost of $3,300.00.

If he were in another class, he would have a quarter of an aide to assist him at a cost of $2,500.00.

If he were capable enough to be included in a regular classroom, he would have 5% of an aide at a cost of $500.00.

But our superintendent evidently needs much more support than our special needs students.

Dr. Wardynski currently has not 5% of an aide. He doesn’t have a quarter of an aide. He doesn’t have a third of an aide. Nope not even close.

Currently Dr. Wardynski has least three “aides” assisting him in meeting his educational goals. Somehow all three of these aides were hired before the first day of school.

First he has Ms. Sarah Savage helping him to learn and connect with the community. Ms. Savage is “on loan” from Leadership Huntsville and her tenure is likely ending soon. Her services were provided to the superintendent for free. In other words, she was a volunteer sub working to help the superintendent adjust to his new surroundings.

But don’t feel to bad for Dr. Wardynski with Ms. Savage’s tenure coming to a close. He’s already got the job description in place to replace her. This full-time position is called the Director of Community Engagement and Partnership Development. This position will report to the Director of Research and Development Cathy McNeal, but Dr. Wardynski said repeatedly on Thursday that this person will basically be performing many of the same duties as Ms. Savage has performed since Dr. Wardynski came on board July 5, 2011. In other words, this person will be helping him direct community engagement.

The Job Goal for the new Director of Community Engagement and Partnership Development will be:

To foster community engagement and development of partnerships with business and enterprises, governmental agencies, and institutions of high education to further student education and career readiness.

The salary for this new position will be announced later upon recommended by the superintendent and approved by the board, but the position requires at least a Master’s degree. Assuming that this new director will have a salary on par with the other directors who were employed by the central office on June 9, 2011, this person will likely have a salary around $90,000 a year. Ironically enough, the lowest paid Director in the central office on June 9th was the Director of Pupil Services at $84,566.95.

Second, since the superintendent clearly needs assistance writing his letters and such, he has acquired the assistance of an Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, Ms. Debby Jennings. While I do not have Ms. Jennings salary, again on June 9, 2011 the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent made $48,450.50 a year.

Finally, as no commander ever operates without an aide-de-camp, Dr. Wardynski has the services of Mr. Aaron King, Director of Transition to assist him in his transition to a new environment. According to the Huntsville Times article on July 11, Mr. King receives $59,211 per year for his assistance to Dr. Wardynski.

So again, Dr. Wardynski has not a third of an aide, as my son does, that costs the system $3,300 per year, but rather three aides that cost the system just shy of $200,000 a year.

Dr. Wardynski holds a PhD in Policy Analysis from Rand Graduate School and a Master’s Degree from Harvard University, and he requires three aide to assist him in his transition from Colorado to Huntsville.

My son has autism, difficulty communicating his needs, and holds a Kindergarten Certificate as well as a Pre-school Certificate from Huntsville City Schools, but right now my son has ten times less support than our superintendent. Right now my son’s support costs 60 times less than our superintendent’s.

Dr. Wardynski clearly understands the value of transitional support. He clearly understands how important it is to have help when adjusting to new surroundings. He clearly plans to keep that support for himself.

Our schools, sir, are still understaffed. Our teachers, sir, are still underpaid and overworked. Our students, sir, do not have the resources they need to achieve excellence. Our IEPs, sir, are still not being met.

Parents, keep this in mind when you ask about the support your child is receiving. If you have the opportunity, please share your answers below or on the Call To Action post from yesterday.

[Thanks runwolf13!]

"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.


  1. Let’s not forget the other “aide” that Casey has right now too – Dr. Ann Roy Moore at a significant cost to our kids. Dr. Wardynski is beginning to sound very much like his predecessor in that he is very good at surrounding himself with people he knows well and paying them handsomely for jobs he is creating for them, or hiring before the current occupant has even actually been properly terminated or at least had the appeal finalized. No wonder he suspended job descriptions, there weren’t job descriptions available for all his friends to fill these positions, or for enough secretaries to the board…meanwhile we have general education classes with way to many kids in them, no adaptive PE teachers and gen ed PE teachers refusing to teach adaptive PE (an ADA issue), not enough paraprofessionals to support the IEPs as written, etc, but we can certainly fill up Merts. Wonder how he plans to raise test scores at this rate? He has his “plan” to raise them, but I know I haven’t actually seen the plan, just the end results as presented.

  2. About time we saw this post. We’ve been discussing it over dinners for a while.

    And let’s look at this system. Lost two kids last week. Had a head football coach arrested, drunk, on school property, understaffed for the start of a new year, and instead of reducing the size of the central office seems to want to make it bigger.

    Add to all that questionable cost saving measures that seems to increase the danger to our children’s health and education, and so far if I had to give “Casey” (as he asks the teachers whom he threatens to call him) a solid F.

    Funny how the lowest paid director on staff is the one that deals with the kids. And not funny “haha.”

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