Board reinstates assistant superintendent position


Dr. Kimberlee Armstrong will assume the position of assistant superintendent on July 1. (Courtesy of Kimberlee Armstrong)

By Ronan Grele

Logan Little contributed additional reporting.

The Tamalpais Unified High School District board of trustees approved a three-year contract for the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services position at a meeting on March 10.

The position will be filled by Dr. Kimberlee Armstrong, previously the Head of Equity and Public Relations for the Edmonds School District in Northern Washington. According to the Tam Union website, Armstrong will be responsible for “all aspects of curriculum and instruction, including student learning outcomes, assessments, graduation requirements, and honors and advanced placement classes.” 

“My immediate goals are to learn the strengths, needs, and successes of students/families, staff, and the communities served,” Armstrong said in an email. “And of course, to support our community through the transition from distance education to site-based instruction.” 

The position calls for a $190,000 salary and has been vacant for two years due to budget cuts. Taupier assumed the responsibilities of the assistant superintendent when the position was eliminated. 

“I feel it is vitally important to have someone whose full-time job is oversight of teaching and learning. I retained my previous job responsibilities [as an assistant superintendent] when I became superintendent but that meant no one was overseeing educational services in a full-time capacity,” Taupier said in an email.

The decision came soon after the failure of the Measure B parcel tax. At the same March 10 meeting, district CFO Corbett Elsen announced that because Measure B did not pass, the district would face $1.4 million in programming cuts. These include a one-year suspension of the Team program and removal of district-wide release periods, including those for leadership, global studies, and journalism. The cuts were approved at a board meeting on April 28. The board now warns of additional budget reductions in the coming years.

One board member, Dan Oppenheim, objected to the reintroduction of the position as a result.

“We need to think about this in light of the other cuts that we’re making,” Oppenheim said at the meeting. “In a time like this, the goal is to focus the spending in the classroom, and so if there are cuts that impact the classroom, I am then unlikely to be in favor of putting more money into the administrative side.”

Other board members, including president Leslie Harlander, argued that Taupier is overworked.

“We can’t forget how much effort there is in day-to-day management in overseeing an organization. Dr. Taupier has been functioning in two full job positions,” Harlander said “What is always a concern [with] the best employees [is] you burn them out because they keep saying yes and they keep rising to the occasion.”

“The district office is designed to create agency so that site-staff can provide effective practices to engage students and families. That work takes a team,” Armstrong said in an email. “Superintendent Taupier has shouldered much of that work and that is not a sustainable model for any superintendent and I appreciate that the board recognized that.”

 Armstrong will assume her position on July 1.