Move by Lodi Unified official signals curriculum transition

By Keith Reid
Record Staff Writer
March 23, 2012 12:00 AM
LODI – Lodi Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Odie Douglas filed a request for reassignment last week, opening a window for the district to transition into a new philosophical mind-set at the high school level under new leadership.

Douglas, 54, was hired in Lodi Unified seven years ago as associate superintendent – second in command to then-Superintendent Bill Huyett. He has worked much of this time introducing a new level of “academic rigor” in Lodi Unified high schools under an all-college preparation model, meaning all students are enrolled in the courses colleges want to see on transcripts.

The Board of Trustees has declared recently that the district is to transition from an all college-prep model to the introduction of more career and technical education courses for students who believe a trade school or the work force is more likely to fill their needs than college readiness.

Douglas will be reassigned in July. The job he moves to could be within Lodi Unified, but Douglas said he has an open mind.

“I am looking forward to a new opportunity,” Douglas said. “It’s known that I’ve been pursuing a superintendency. I am going to continue searching for new opportunities.”

Douglas was a finalist for Stockton Unified’s superintendent search in 2010 before the district decided to hire the retired Carl Toliver on a two-year contract. Douglas also interviewed for the top spot in the Natomas Unified School District.

Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer said Douglas submitted his letter requesting reassignment within his credential area. She said the district has posted the assistant superintendent job without any replacement candidates in mind.

The position will pay between $105,000 and $135,000 annually according to an online classified advertisement. Douglas, who has his doctorate degree, is earning $164,000 annually.

Douglas was one of several administrators who were “re-shuffled” into new positions in 2010 after Nichols-Washer pledged to streamline services at the district office to coincide with other layoffs and budget cuts. The associate superintendent’s office was purged in that shuffle. Douglas stayed in the superintendent’s cabinet as an assistant superintendent.

“(Douglas) has a wealth of experience and knowledge. He’s a very good person and a good administrator,” Nichols-Washer said. “He is always going to do very well.”

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