CCPS reorganizes executive team
Two new assistant superintendents, one deputy superintendent named
Charles County Public Schools is reorganizing its executive staff, eliminating one assistant superintendent position and promoting two others to assistant superintendent.
Michael Heim, formerly the director of transportation, was announced last week as the new assistant superintendent of supporting services, replacing Keith Hettel, who retired July 1. Randy Sotomayor, formerly the executive director of the Office of Finance and Business, was named assistant superintendent of fiscal services last month, replacing Paul Balides, who retired in April.
Sylvia Lawson, assistant superintendent of school administration, also left the school system July 1. Amy Hollstein, formerly the assistant superintendent of instruction, will now also oversee school administration as deputy superintendent, a new position.
Hollstein said combining the two positions under one office came out of national research examining the changing role of school administrators.
“The principal’s and vice principal’s role has shifted so dramatically in the past few years, from managerial to instructional. They really have to be great instructional leaders, so it made sense to put the two offices together,” Hollstein said. “What we’re doing is taking school administration and instruction and just blending them, and we have a very strong team that are going to be working together so that we can better support the students and the community.”
Hollstein said the new structure tears down the silos between school administration and instruction.
“I’m overseeing this, but we have executive directors; Marvin Jones, Pam Murphy and Linda Gill, and they’ll be providing the leadership in their respective areas,” Hollstein said.
Jones is the executive director of school administration, Murphy is the executive director of human resources and Gill is the executive director of school administration.
Heim began working in CCPS as a teacher in 1997, and had been vice principal at North Point High School for seven years when he accepted a position as assistant supervisor of transportation in 2011.
“Once I became vice principal I was dealing with buses and bus issues and it became something that piqued my interest, so when the opportunity arose, I applied for the position,” Heim said.
Heim was named director of transportation in 2015.
Heim said he has most enjoyed the organizational and logistical aspects of the position.
“There’s a lot of planning that goes into creating a route, revising a route. We try to make them as efficient as possible, and as cost effective as possible,” Heim said. “I like the challenge of creating efficient, safe routes. I also like working with the drivers and the attendants.”
Heim said the school system has put out to bid a study to look at the longterm costs and benefits of the current contract company model for transportation compared with providing such services in-house.
“It will be a very in-depth study looking at mechanical costs, owning or leasing lots to store the buses and also looking at changes to our staff and to the structure of our organization,” Heim said.
In his new position, Heim will also be in charge of maintenance and operation of facilities and oversee construction and renovation of schools.
Several projects — including planning for a new elementary school, air conditioning replacements, kindergarten additions at two elementary schools and other renovations — are currently underway, Heim said.
“Summertime is a very important time in support services, because students are not in the building and it doesn’t affect instruction,” Heim said.
Heim said he is looking forward to his new role and working with support services staff.
“It’s exciting for me to learn the things I wasn’t aware of as a vice principal or as a teacher in transportation, things that go on behind the scenes. I’m also looking forward to getting to know the staff I’m working with. These are people who work behind the scenes who play a very important role in our school system. They’re not involved in direct instruction, but the jobs they do are very important to getting our schools prepared and maintaining our schools,” Heim said.
Sotomayor began working for CCPS in September 1996 as a budget analyst, at the invitation of Balides, who had previously worked with Sotomayor at American University.
“I’ve been fortunate to work under [Balides]. He’s been a great mentor to me, and he showed me all the ins and outs of managing the finances of the school system,” Sotomayor said.
In his current role as assistant superintendent of fiscal services, Sotomayor oversees accounting, investments, pension funds, the operating and capital improvements budgets, food and nutrition services and employee benefits.
“Anything and all that is related to the finances of the school system, is what I have my hands on,” Sotomayor said.
Sotomayor said one of the biggest challenges facing the school system is remaining competitive as an employer in the marketplace with limited funding — particularly in light of enrollment growth and rising health care costs.
“I am not sure in the long term whether we are really out of the recession yet, and so funds are pretty limited, and yet we have all these demands,” Sotomayor said.
Michael Heim was recently named Charles County Public Schools’ assistant superintendent of supporting services.
Amy Hollstein was recently named deputy superintendent for Charles County Public Schools, a newlycreated position.
Randy Sotomayor was recently named Charles County Public Schools’ assistant superintendent of fiscal services.