This summer has seen a number of staffing changes for Tullahoma City Schools, including the promotion of Bel-Aire Elementary School Principal April Norris to the Director of State and Federal Programs and the hiring of a new human resources specialist.
One more major staffing change announced by Director of Schools John Carver was the addition of a chief operations officer (COO) for the school system.
According to Carver, Tullahoma native Jason Ray has come back home to take over the business operations for TCS.
Ray will succeed TCS Business Director Mike Roggli, who will be retiring at the end of August after more than 30 years with the district.
According to Carver, the position Ray will take is slightly different to Roggli’s current position as business director, due to some “restructuring” at the administrative building.
Previously, Roggli oversaw the overall budget for the school system - as well as accounts payable, building and grounds and transportation - but not HR or personnel.
Instead, Dr. Greg Carter was the director of personnel for the district.
This summer, Carter will be transitioning into a teaching position at West Middle School, leaving his personnel duties up for grabs.
With Roggli’s imminent retirement, Carver said the new COO will combine the responsibilities of both Roggli and Carter in order to keep things “more efficient.”
“We just believe it’s going to be more efficient to have HR and payroll under one division, working together, and not the two working in isolation,” Carver said.
Ray said he was up for the challenge of the new position.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” he said, thanking Carver for the “tremendous amount of trust” being given to him “to oversee this area.”
Ray leaves his current position at Columbia-based Local Government Corporation (LGC), a software and hardware provider for government entities such as municipalities, school systems and more.
He also previously worked for the then-called Tullahoma Utilities Board for more than nine years as the company’s chief financial officer, Ray said.
Ray’s experience at LGC makes him an “added-value hire,” according to Carver.
“On top of the other experiences that Jason has, he has practical knowledge of the online reporting systems,” he said. “This is added value that he brings to Tullahoma City Schools.”
Ray’s tenure as COO will overlap with Roggli’s final days as TCS Business Director, according to Carver.
“He’s going to be with us for July and August,” Carver said of Roggli, “and he’s going to help Jason through the transition. Mr. Roggli’s been here 34 years, so to transfer that knowledge, it’s going to take a little time.”
For his part, Ray said he was excited to learn all he can from Roggli and the rest of his team, which includes newly-hired human resources specialist Jennifer Matlock and Gina Lampkin, the payroll and benefits specialist for the district, among others.
“There’s so many common intricacies between the HR functionality, insurance, those type of things that would make a smooth transition,” Ray said. “Not only do I see myself as the lead person, I also see myself as a learner in those roles, because the folks that we have working here now will be able to lead me in some areas of knowledge that I don’t already have.”
While he acknowledged there may be some challenges that present themselves along the way, the biggest challenge will be replacing someone with Roggli’s institutional knowledge.
“I’m replacing a gentleman who’s been here for 34 years that’s done a wonderful job,” he said of Roggli’s tenure. “Replacing a man that’s been here that long is a tremendous challenge.”
Regardless of the challenge, both Ray and Carver said they were excited to begin working together.
“We’re just really excited to bring his experience here to Tullahoma City Schools,” Carver said of Ray. “We’re just excited with what lies ahead.”
Erin McCullough may be reached at email@example.com.