Two districts in Portage County are searching for a superintendent.
But only one is expected to make an appointment before the new school year starts.
While Crestwood Local Schools is well on its way to finding its next superintendent, and expects a selection to be made next month, Field Local Schools hasn't even started its search.
That doesn't bode well for a replacement being in place in time for the district's levy campaign, Crestwood's consultant said recently.
Dr. David Kircher of Finding Leaders, an executive search committee, said often when school districts call him in March or April, he advises them to find an interim superintendent and take a full year to find the right candidate.
"We're reaching a really crucial point," he said. "If it gets too late, we start getting into the summer months. A lot of times these candidates are under contract with another district, and need to give notice to them. That's not to say that a really dynamic district wouldn't have people attracted to it, but it's pretty unusual."
Kircher said Crestwood already has 42 applicants about a week away from its March 8 deadline. The firm also is conducting searches in North Royalton and Wadsworth, and applicants can be considered for more than one district when they apply. Crestwood's search started in January.
The firm then screens the applications with a goal of bringing 15 finalists to the board, then interviews those 15 and narrows that field to six. The six finalists and all the applications are brought to the board, which will conduct interviews and bring back two finalists for second interviews.
A transition plan is in place, with the goal of the new superintendent starting Aug. 1.
Changes to the State Teachers Retirement System start in June, and are aimed at discouraging retire/rehire situations. Kircher estimated that 20 to 30 percent of superintendents in Ohio have retired and have been re-hired by their district.
Iacano, who will have been with Crestwood for a decade when he retires this summer, is completing his 35th year in education. He said the new regulations have "forced me and others to make the decision to retire sooner than we would have otherwise."
Iacano said the changes have prompted a number of retirements in Ohio, particularly in Franklin County, but not many superintendents in Northeastern Ohio have done so. Statewide, the average superintendent's tenure is less than five years.
Field, which accepted the resignation of Superintendent Beth Coleman on Feb. 12, has had five superintendents over the past decade.
The board was to have its first meeting since Coleman's resignation on Monday, but the meeting was canceled because of unspecified "threats" against board members. Board President Terry Kettering, who had a death in his family, could not be reached to discuss the situation.
Board member Allyson Westover said the Field board's next scheduled meeting is March 11, and it has not made any decisions on what direction it would like to go.
"We want to make sure all five of us are there and make sure everyone's opinion is heard," she said.
One option that may be on the table is sharing a superintendent. Westover noted that such collaborations seem to be the "wave of the future," noting that Mogadore and Springfield schools share a treasurer. Crestwood and Ravenna share a food services coordinator.
She pointed out that the district already is saving money because when Coleman, who was the district's assistant superintendent, was hired, her position was not filled.
Kircher noted that one superintendent in Ohio is doing triple duty. John Ritchie is superintendent of Orrville, Southeast Local in Wayne County and Rittman. Two districts in Southern Ohio also share a superintendent.
"It is pretty dependent on the needs of the districts," Kircher said.
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