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7/11/2013 1:53:00 PM
Amber Lee named superintendent of Camp Verde Schools
Wathogoma takes on Title VII oversight
Dr. Amber Lee
Dr. Amber Lee
VVN/Raquel Hendrickson
JOM Manager Leona Wathogoma talks about new ideas for a Title VII grant.
VVN/Raquel Hendrickson
JOM Manager Leona Wathogoma talks about new ideas for a Title VII grant.

Raquel Hendrickson
Bugle Managing Editor

CAMP VERDE - It's a change of title but little else.

Amber Lee, PhD, was named superintendent of the Camp Verde Unified School District on Tuesday. Her duties will not change, by all accounts, and her contract is being negotiated.

"I'll just keep doing what I'm doing," Lee said.

She has been Administrator-in-Charge since the departure of previous superintendent Dan Brown in the spring of 2012. The superintendent's duties were meted out to the districts administration team, with Lee as point-woman. She also continued to be the director of Student Services and was the voice of the admin team.

The change of title to superintendent does not change that chain of command.

The final decision Tuesday came after a long closed session with the governing board. Lee also retains her title of Student Services director.

A year ago, the board had opted to continue without a superintendent and that associated salary for as long as it seemed appropriate. Though they have been talking about the move to a superintendent, the board members were reluctant to explain why they felt the time was right.

'We felt it was the strongest move to make at this time," board member Bob Simbric said after the meeting. He said it fit into the district's move forward in projects like the Blank Slate venture.

The district lawyer went to work on the terms of the contract shortly afterward to begin the negotiations.

Lee has been with the district since 2002, when she was hired as Special Education director, a title that has changed over the years.

Native American Students

One person not getting a new title but taking on new responsibilities is Leona Wathogoma.

During a joint meeting between the school board and the Yavapai-Apache Tribal Council that preceded the regular session, Wathogoma, who is the Johnson O'Malley program manager, agreed to oversee new proposals for Title VII Native American student activities.

The school has a $33,000 Title VII grant. By law, Title VII Indian Education is a federal project designed to provide eligible Indian and Alaska Native students with tutoring, cultural enrichment, and other services designed to meet the "culturally related academic needs" of AI/AN students.

Based on direction from a previous joint meeting, a list of needs was created to put the grant funds to a different use than they had previously seen. That includes parent education, graduation products, educational incentives and cultural activities.

"I would rather put the money into these things than into someone's salary," Board President Helen Freeman said.

Business Manager Steve Hicks planned to have a discussion with Title VII officials to make sure the plans fit the grant rules.

While the boards saw the need for a liaison for oversight, they were disinclined to hire another individual as "Native American counselor" as the position once was.

"I don't think any of this was in the [previous] job description," Lee said.

Because of her familiarity with Title VII and the students and parents, members suggested Wathogoma could supervise the organization of the activities.

YAN Chairman David Kwail cautioned members that Wathogoma is "already very busy."

"I probably could do it," Wathogoma said. "I have a lot of help. The tutors are liaisons as well. I can give it a try. If you really need for me to do it, I will help out."

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