Published Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 1:00 am / Updated at 3:16 pm
OPS reorganization
World-Herald editorial: Evans taking necessary steps at OPS

Mark Evans, the new superintendent of Omaha Public Schools, has shown commendable leadership with a major administrative reorganization aimed at making school operations more efficient and responsive to the public.

He is moving about 28 administrative employees from the central office into schools so that those supervisors will be closer to principals and teachers, students and parents.

These administrators will help oversee schools’ actions regarding truancy, discipline and social work. By moving these supervisors directly into the schools, the administrators will be better positioned to handle these often complicated responsibilities.

Evans announced an additional sensible step: The district will hire four new executive directors to serve as “one-stop shops” for principals. This change can have real impact, promoting more efficient and responsive actions by schools.

As The World-Herald’s Erin Duffy reported, those executive directors will “field questions and problems ranging from a broken heater to brainstorming ways to boost attendance or test scores in a particular school.” The four executive directors will oversee about 20 schools apiece.

With this change, Evans is ending the district’s longtime, inefficient practice by which principals at each of the district’s 86 schools reported directly to the superintendent.

The overall result of these changes will be a net reduction of seven full-time employees, achieved mainly through attrition.

With these actions, Evans is responding to the district’s outside assessment of its needs and showing strong, forward-looking leadership. The decision sends important signals about the current direction at OPS under his guidance as superintendent:

>> The administrative shakeup was based on practical, professional considerations. Evans did not let status quo thinking block sensible change; this in itself was a big step forward.

>> OPS is tackling significant and difficult issues in a methodical way. It’s doing so by drawing on the findings of the external needs assessment that included considerable input from the public.

That assessment stated that the OPS Student and Family Services Department — the focus of Evans’ administrative overhaul — was “ill-equipped” to carry out its mission of helping principals. The revamp of the department should enable OPS to do a better job of tracking and addressing parent complaints.

>> Evans demonstrated firm leadership and, just as important, explained his action in straightforward language that the public can understand and appreciate. Clear communication from OPS leaders has long been a key need for the district.

By taking these actions, Evans is pursuing an important overarching goal — not just rearranging chairs but making changes to increase the ability of OPS schools to engage students and meet the expectations of the public.

Much work remains to be done at OPS. The public will be well served if Evans’ future decisions display the same vision and sure-handedness that his latest action has demonstrated.

Read more related stories
Regency area without power for 2 1/2 hours Sunday night
Driver seriously injured in crash into semi
Firefighters put out industrial oven fire
78th Street to close to through traffic
Primary battle between Battiato, Morrissey may be only race
UNMC appoints new dean for the college of dentistry
Jeff Corwin hopes to build connection with nature at Nebraska Science Festival
Metro transit recommends streetcar, rapid-transit bus line for Omaha
6-mile stretch of Highway 75 is the road not taken
After decades looking in, Republican Dan Frei seeks chance to take action
Ben Sasse, Shane Osborn try to pin label of D.C. insider on each other
Curious about government salaries? Look no further
Easter Sunday temperatures climb into 80s in Omaha area
Omaha police investigate two nonfatal shootings
City Council to vote on adding Bluffs pedestrian safety lights
Sole big donor to Beau McCoy says he expects nothing in return
Convicted killer Nikko Jenkins might await his sentence in prison
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
Midlands runners ready for Boston Marathon
Families from area shelters treated to meal at Old Chicago
Firefighters battle brush fire near Fontenelle Forest
Sioux City riverboat casino prepares to close, still hoping to be saved
Omaha high schoolers to help canvass for Heartland 2050
Mizzou alumni aim to attract veterinary students to Henry Doorly Zoo
Grant ensures that Sioux City can start building children's museum
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
A World War II veteran from Omaha will return this week to Europe to commemorate a tragedy in the run-up to D-Day.
Dickson’s Week in Review, April 13-19
On Twitter some guy tweeted that the spring game isn’t taken as seriously as a regular-season contest. What was your first clue? When the head coach entered waving a cat aloft?
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
The main speaker at today's Ivy Day celebration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a college president who grew up roping calves and earned her Ph.D. at the prestigious Oxford University in England.
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Meridian Med Spa
50% Off Botox®, Botox® Bridal Party, Fillers and Peels
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »