East Allen County Schools' new chief won't officially start until July 1, but his thumbprint will be on some things even before then, said board president Neil Reynolds.
Ken Folks was introduced this morning to central office staff as the district's superintendent, replacing Karyle Green who left East Allen March 1 in a mutual agreement with the board.
Folks plans to spend today in the district, meeting staff and working with officials in human resources and on the district's Title I application, due next week, Reynolds said.
"He's very familiar with a number of our staff … he's personable and well-respected in the education community," Reynolds said of Folks. "He seems like an all-around capable guy who's going to get the job done."
The board conducted a public hearing for Folks' proposed salary and compensation package Tuesday, but cannot vote on the contract for seven days after the hearing. The board is expected to call a special meeting next week to approve a contract with Folks and the Title I application.
Folks said in a district statement that he's looking to moving East Allen forward.
"I think my experience from all 32 years in public education is applicable to take the East Allen County School district to the next level. I'm happy to be the leader of the team that will make EACS the premiere school district in northeast Indiana," he said.
Folks had most recently served as the assistant superintendent in Marion Community Schools but was a principal in Northwest Allen County Schools before that.
He was hired July 2010 as assistant superintendent of instruction in Marion with a salary of $104,000 per year. Folks came to the district when its high school was at risk for state takeover for poor performance, according to articles from the Marion Chronicle-Tribune. One year later, the school was pulled off probation and received a C grade under the state's A-F grade accountability system after the school earned an F for five consecutive years.
When Marion's current Superintendent Steve Edwards announced his resignation earlier this year, Folks appeared to be a likely candidate to take over.
But the current board passed on Folks as Edwards' replacement, according to Chronicle-Tribune news accounts. The district announced in April it would widen its search for candidates after talks with Folks fell through.
In East Allen, Folks is set to earn a base salary of $140,000 in his first year, with a board-approved $3,000 performance increase each year for the next two years of the three-year contract. The package totals more than $208,000 in the first year and includes $5,000 in yearly annuity payments along with phone and transportation allowances.
Folks earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in secondary education as well as his administrator's license from IPFW, according to an East Allen statement. He also holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Purdue University, according to the statement.
Folks is still living in Fort Wayne, Reynolds said, and will not have to relocate for the job.
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