By MARC VALERO

Staff Writer

SEBRING — The School Board of Highlands County approved changing the lead teacher positions at the Academy at Youth Care Lane and the Highlands Career Institute at South Florida State College to assistant principal positions.

The board heard about the responsibilities of the two positions and discussed at length what level of assistant principal — elementary, middle or high — to make the Academy and Career Institute positions.

Avon Park High Principal Danielle Erwin noted that she serves as principal overseeing the Highlands Career Institute (HCI).

“In my opinion, and based on what I have seen this past year, and last year was the first year that I oversaw HCI, there were a lot of administrative responsibilities on that lead teacher’s position as they ranged from master scheduling, student scheduling, discipline, SARC [school accountability] threat assessment ...” and many more.

That is a lot of work and most of that falls under an assistant principal position, she said.

The Highlands Career Institute increased its enrollment from 76 students last year to 90 this year with a goal of 120 next year, Erwin said.

Currently Julia Burnett is the lead teacher at Highlands Career Institute, and Marcia Davis is the lead teacher at the Academy at Youth Care Lane.

Davis said she has many of the same responsibilities that were mentioned by Erwin, but one difference is she doesn’t observe teachers because the students take classes through virtual school.

It is not a lead teacher position; it is like running a school, she said.

The pay level for assistant principals increases from elementary, to middle to high school, due to the additional after-school activities at the middle and high school levels.

The board approved the position as a middle school level assistant principal position.

It was noted that the change would require the positions to be re-advertised.

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