Tom Cole, who played a major role in the construction of Rio Norte Junior High School as a senior project manager for The Newhall Land & Farming Company, has been named the new chief operations officer for the Wm. S. Hart Union High School District. The appointment was confirmed by the Governing Board at its July 14 meeting and is expected to take effect in early August.
The Governing Board also approved creation of a new administrative position, the director of human resources and equity services, which combines two former administrative positions into one. Greg Lee, the district’s former diversity coordinator, has been named to fill the new position. The administrative reorganization is part of the Hart District’s aggressive program to reduce expenditures in light of dwindling state funding.
In addition to his position with Newhall Land, Cole has served as director of development for LNR Property Corporation and vice president/director of construction for Highland Development Company in San Ramon, California. He has extensive experience in site selection and development, contract negotiations and construction oversight.
As chief operations officer for the Hart District, Cole will be in charge of the district’s business services departments, including facilities, maintenance and operations, transportation, construction and risk management.
”Mr. Cole’s degree in urban planning should prove of considerable value to the Hart District,” explained Rob Gapper, assistant superintendent of human resources. “In this position, he will be in charge of planning and construction for all of the district’s new facilities and modernization projects. His professional experience will add valuable resources to the district.”
Cole was appointed last year to the district’s Measure SA Citizens’ Oversight Committee, experience that should prove helpful as he now becomes the district’s liaison with the Measure V and Measure SA oversight committees. He was named to the committee in response to his 20-years of development experience and his management of multi-million dollar construction projects for Newhall Land and Lennar.
Cole’s appointment to the chief operations officer position follows an extensive search for qualified candidates with both the fiscal expertise and construction experience to manage the district’s business operations. Sue Hoerber, the district’s chief financial officer, will continue to handle the district’s budget and financial affairs.
The new director position which Lee will fill is a compilation of personnel duties and his successful tenure as the district diversity coordinator, a position he has held since 2005. Prior to that, he was an assistant principal at Placerita Junior High School and also at Chatsworth High School.
In his new position, he will continue to coordinate the district’s diversity programs and will work with the assistant superintendent of human resources and the director of classified personnel in such issues as contract negotiations, personnel complaints and staff development. He will also help organize employee recognition programs across the district and coordinate the district’s volunteer certification process.
“Greg is a collaborative person who can build consensus on difficult issues,” Gapper told the Governing Board, “and he is highly respected as an educator.” The promotion is effectively immediately.