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New Interpretation of the position of “Dean”
By William Bjorum, EdD, Program Director for Education Administration


School districts use the term Dean in many ways in their schools.  We see people assigned to watch over playgrounds referred to as activity deans.  In some districts, people who watch over lunchrooms and hallways are referred to as deans.  In some districts, the term dean describes roles similar in responsibility to assistant principals.  Some deans are responsible for scheduling, student discipline, managing the student assessment program.

A new edit of Minnesota Chapter 179A.03 subd. 17 will affect many deans who are judged to have supervisory responsibilities.  They will be required to hold principal licenses.  The wording describes supervisory responsibilities:

“Supervisory employee” means a person who has the authority to undertake a majority of the following supervisory functions in the interests of the employer: hiring, transfer, suspension, promotion, discharge, assignment, reward, or discipline of other employees, direction of the work of other employees, or adjustment of other employees’ grievances on behalf of the employer. To be included as a supervisory function which the person has authority to undertake, the exercise of the authority by the person may not be merely routine or clerical in nature but must require the use of independent judgment.

School districts must report each position in the district, the name and credentials of the person who holds each position.  The coding of the position must match the coding of the person’s credentials.  The report, called the Staff Automated Reporting System (STARS) report, is submitted by schools and school districts in October every year.

School district employees who are in supervisory positions that include responsibilities described in Chapter 179A will be mandated to hold administrative licenses.  In those cases where a district does not comply and continues to employ people designated as deans who have supervisory responsibilities may face fines, withholding of funding, and other potential sanctions by MDE/PELSB.

Dr. Kinkel, Executive Director of the Board of School Administrators informed university program directors recently that the change in interpretation will be effective for the 2019-2020 school year with full compliance in 2020-2021.