The board unanimously approved superintendent David Lewis' request to fill the assistant superintendent position, which was vacant for five years, by hiring Rebecca Braaten, one of his former colleagues from Polk County, Fla.
Braaten has been a professional educator for 17 years, including 11 years in Polk County, where she began as a guidance counselor and eventually became senior director of K-12 science and acceleration. She was assistant principal at Frostproof Middle Senior High School (2003-05) in Polk County while Lewis was principal. Lewis was Polk's associate superintendent for learning when the Muscogee board hired him as superintendent in July.
Braaten's salary will be $122,500, slightly more than the $120,540 the district's six chief officers earn. The district's most recent assistant superintendent, Robin Pennock, earned $128,658 when she retired in 2008. Lewis' three-year contract calls for a salary of $170,000.
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Braaten said she, her husband and four school-age children have been "welcomed with open arms. The community, the businesses, the school-based personnel -- just everyone. They've been gracious and welcoming."
Then she addressed Lewis and said, "I was devastated when you left, but now I get to work with you again. I'm so excited. He's a true servant leader, very visionary, and he's been my mentor for a long time, so I'm really looking forward to this opportunity."