Denise Wren, a former high school principal and a finalist for the superintendent post in 2009, has been promoted to chief operating officer for Wichita schools, district officials announced Thursday.
Wren, assistant superintendent for high schools, will replace Martin Libhart, who will retire from the district Aug. 31. She will take over her new role Aug. 1.
The new post comes with a raise: Wren will make $135,700 a year. Her current salary is $121,742.
Bill Faflick, the district's athletics director, will become assistant superintendent for secondary schools, overseeing all middle and high schools. He will replace Wren and Kathy Busch, who will retire from the district this month.
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Faflick's salary also will increase, from $92,557 to $121,742 a year.
Starting Aug. 1, Faflick will no longer direct Wichita's athletic programs. No replacement has been named, said district spokeswoman Susan Arensman.
Wren, a graduate of West High School, began her career as a science and physical education teacher. She later was an assistant principal, then a principal at Pleasant Valley Middle School and North High School.
During Wren's three-year stint at North, the dropout rate fell from 6.8 percent to 3.6 percent. The percentage of students passing state and reading exams increased.
In 2009, after former superintendent Winston Brooks left the district, Wren was one of two finalists for the district's top job. Many in the community lobbied for the hometown candidate, saying Wren's Wichita roots would serve the district well.
In the end, board members selected John Allison, a former Mount Lebanon, Pa., superintendent, and Wren stayed on as assistant superintendent of high schools.
As chief operating officer, Wren will oversee building maintenance and construction, transportation, security, energy management, food service, environmental services and purchasing. She also will head the district's emergency operations team, managing any natural or man-made disasters that affect schools.
"I am extremely excited to take on this new role," Wren said in a written statement. "I have the unique perspective of seeing this district from the eyes of a student, teacher, building administrator and district administrator. I believe these experiences will serve me well as I begin this new venture."
Faflick graduated from Southeast High School and began his career as a math teacher there. He later served as Southeast High's athletics director before assuming leadership of all district athletic programs.
As assistant superintendent for secondary schools, Faflick will oversee the district's 16 middle schools and 11 high schools.