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Williamsburg James City County School Board policy mandates the superintendent may reassign any teacher, principal or assistant principal during a school year “provided no change or reassignment…shall affect the salary of such teacher, principal or assistant principal for that school year.”
And the policy stands in the case of Valerie DiPaola, former WJCC senior director for curriculum and instruction, who’ll maintain her $116,295 salary even after she was reassigned to a teaching position at Lafayette High School on Jan. 21.
According to the current published WJCC Pay Scales and Classification Plan, DiPaola is presumably earning at least $30,000 more than the highest possible teacher salary, not including National Board Certification or Doctorate degree awards and bonuses.
“If an administrator or teacher is assigned mid-school year, that can happen at the discretion of the superintendent provided that there’s no change in salary for that school year,” said Eileen Cox, a spokeswoman for the district.
Unable to discuss individual personnel actions, Cox said she couldn’t say why DiPaola had been reassigned but she would not be the first at WJCC to keep her salary after moving to a lower-earning position.
When Ty Harris was demoted from principal to associate principal at James Blair Middle School last year, he was able to keep his more than $105,000 salary in a position another WJCC middle school budgeted $73,182 for in 2019.
After teaching Spanish in WJCC schools for nearly 10 years, DiPaola began working in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction office in 2006 first as a coordinator, then senior director in 2012, Cox said.
With more than 20 years of education experience under her belt at WJCC schools, Cox said it’s difficult to say how much DiPaola would typically be earning in her new position without knowledge of any teaching experience before her time with WJCC.
“In general, [a teacher’s salary] is based on years of experience, certifications that a teacher or administrator might have…I certainly can tell you that it would not be an entry-level [salary] because of the number of years of experience that she had,” Cox said.
Without a determination from the School Board on next year’s salary schedule and contingent upon evaluation, Cox said it’s unclear how much DiPaola will earn next year or if her salary will change in adherence to the teacher salary schedule.
DiPaola’s senior director position remains open and Cox added after the reassignment and shortly after another employee resigning for unrelated reasons, WJCC administration is evaluating their needs and is in the process of reorganizing the Curriculum & Instruction office.
DiPaola did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.