I don't think there's anyone that I would consider a demotion. We're bringing a fair number of folks who have been employees for some time into the ranks of administrator. —Brad Smith, Superintendent

OGDEN — The Ogden school board approved the reassignment of 21 Ogden School District administrators Monday.

The meeting was a special session of the board and lasted less than 10 minutes, with the only agenda item being the reading and approval of those district personnel being reassigned. Superintendent Brad Smith said the changes were made to improve student achievement in the district he called "the lowest performing in the state."

He said in each case, the assignments represented a lateral, or upward shift in employment.

"I don't think there's anyone that I would consider a demotion," Smith said. "We're bringing a fair number of folks who have been employees for some time into the ranks of administrator."

But in addition to the 21 assignments approved at Monday's meeting, five district administrators have been re-assigned to classroom teaching positions, according to district spokeswoman Donna Corby. Because of the nature of those changes, their assignments did not require board approval.

Smith said some of the employment decisions made by the district could be viewed as a demotion, but emphasized that the challenges of the district require a set of people who possess a drive and urgency to improve education in Ogden.

"Knowing we need to demand change and demanding it now is what I look for in an administrator," Smith said.

Smith, a former board member, was appointed superintendent in August after the abrupt resignation of former superintendent Noel Zabriskie. At the time, the school board acted quickly in appointing Smith to avoid a disruption of district operations and reportedly did not solicit applications, conduct a search or interview other candidates for the position.

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Smith, who has a background as a lawyer, has repeatedly stressed the need for change and improvement in the district. He said that forthcoming achievement data will positively reflect the amount of work that has been done over the past year.

"In a couple of weeks I think we're going to see numbers and results in our district that will astonish people," he said. 

He complimented the employees of the district and said he was honored to be associated with them.

"(They have) caught the vision that we can, should and must do better by our kids," Smith said.

E-mail: benwood@desnews.com