Zimring may be out as Las Virgenes school superintendent – Calabasas Real Estate News

Zimring may be out as Las Virgenes school superintendent

Donald Zimring

Donald Zimring

Donald Zimring, superintendent of the Las Virgenes Unified School District, likely will not have his contract renewed when it expires in June.

The Las Virgenes school board is set to vote Tuesday on an early retirement agreement that would extend Zimring’s contract for only a month, to Aug. 1. Extending the contract to August makes Zimring, 60, eligible for maximum retirement benefits.

“He had to decide, and we had to decide, when the time would be right,” said Jill Gaines, president of the board.

Zimring has spent his entire education career with Las Virgenes, starting as a middle school teacher teaching social studies and journalism. In his 37 years with the district, he also was a principal, public information officer and assistant superintendent, among other positions. He has been superintendent since July 2007.

“The entire concept of not working for Las Virgenes must have been an incredibly difficult concept for Don to wrap his head around,” said Trustee Dave Moorman. “I don’t know if he’s 100 percent comfortable with this.”

Zimring would not say Monday if he asked to have his contract extended beyond August.

“I really can’t comment on that right now,” he said.

The board also will vote on promoting Dan Stepenosky, assistant superintendent of human resources, to deputy superintendent, a new position. Stepenosky’s term would begin this month and end in August, on the same day Zimring’s contract expires.

Gaines said the board would start working on finding a replacement for Zimring in January, and Stepenosky would be a candidate.

Stepenosky is a capable administrator whom other districts have looked at, colleagues said.

“He’s marketable,” said Craig Hochhaus, co-president of the Las Virgenes Educators Association. “He’s very bright. He has good people skills. He has the whole package.”

Generally, superintendents’ contracts are renewed before they have less than a year to go. Starting in June, when Zimring had one year left on his contract, the board has had at least seven special meetings where it scheduled a performance evaluation of Zimring in closed session. Usually, superintendents have one or two performance evaluations a year.

Trustee Gordon Whitehead said he did not want to comment on the situation until the board votes Tuesday.

“There’s no substance to any rumor that the board is dissatisfied with his performance. … We’re trying to put out a coordinated message,” Whitehead said.

Like other districts across the state, Las Virgenes has increased class sizes and reduced the school year because of state budget cuts. And in November, local voters rejected a parcel tax that would have brought an additional $2.2 million annually to the district.

Zimring has worked tirelessly for the district, trustees said.

“There is unconditional admiration and respect for his skills,” Gaines said. “He’s been instrumental in shaping the district into what it is today, no question.”

Under the terms of the proposed early retirement agreement, Zimring would continue to receive his current salary, $195,520, through Aug. 1 — an additional month beyond his contract. The district also would reimburse Zimring for buying six months of service credit with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

In addition, Zimring would serve as a consultant for up to 120 hours from Aug. 2 to June 30, 2013, at no additional cost to the district.

Stepenosky’s annual salary as deputy superintendent would be $149,860. He also would get a monthly mileage stipend.

© 2011 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Some changes to note that may take place with the Las Virgenes School District.

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