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JPS Creates New Positions, Hopes To Fill Them Soon

The Jamestown Public Schools District has appointed Laura Penhollow as its new coordinator of extended learning.

The position was formerly known as a grants specialist. The new position of grants coordinator was officially created during Tuesday’s board meeting. In addition to the grants specialist, the district officially created the positions of school safety advisor, literacy coordinator, community navigator – career development liaison Spanish-speaking and two school psychologists.

“I know we’re all very excited to see this finally come to fruition and I understand from Dr. Whitaker we’ve filled at least a few of these positions now,” said Paul Abbott, school board president. “We want to have people lined up for the start of the school year. It’s very exciting stuff.”

The community navigator is a new position to help provide a connection between JPS’ Latino population and the district. Due to language barriers or other reasons, JPS’ Hispanic population has expressed a desire to have a person who has a solid connection to the Latino population and can speak Spanish, to act as a liaison between the schools and the community. Several area pastors spoke to the school board in March asking for the position to be added to the district’s budget.

Pastor Miguel Correa, who spoke on behalf of the group, said several schools struggle to communicate with non-English speaking families, and in turn parents find it difficult to support their children’s educational plans.

The budget also added the new psychologist positions and a new reading and literacy coordinator position.

Dr. Kevin Whitaker, district superintendent, said there will be job postings soon for the other positions, though there have been some people who have expressed interest even before the positions were officially created and posted. The superintendent said he would like to have the positions filled as soon as possible so the new employees can hit the ground running when students return to school in September.

“I’m a big believer in posting as soon as you possibly can,” Whitaker said. “Do interviews and get people in as soon as you can. We’re a big district. If we wait until the very end we’re going to lose out on people who are taking jobs in other districts.”

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