Crestwood, Field expect different outcomes for superintendent search

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

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.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.

  • Zoedee Guess you think the Brimfield Police are All powerful for every town. Like I said Earlier do your own homework and CALL! Just as the Chief should have done before he posted .

  • zohdee go to a board meeting and ask your questions. The school board does not respond to post here. This is the place for rumors to get started by folks like you.

  • I have a very hard time believing the school board has had any threats. They are in the hot seat and don't want to answer any questions posed to them by the taxpayers. The BFD has had no reports from them. I think it is all smoke and mirrors on their part.

  • The expense of using a search service is costly especially if you want someone that is from the northeast part of Ohio . Putting out notices of vacancy on the ODE web site where most people look for employment opportunities and advertising locally will bring in many applicants. One thing a district should do is set down the requirements they expect out of their Superintendent and have a Superintendent job description in place. If they were smart they would print up a brochure to hand to all applicants and use it as a talking point with applicants. Although I do not agree with sharing a Superintendent shared services in districts has saved a lot of money. I would hope Field would share some other services such as treasurer, transportation manager, athletic director food service manager/dietician, etc. As far as the treats go if you are so interested in hearing where they reported to you should call around like I did and found they were reported to the authorized dept. .

  • zohdee why are you so concerned about who the threats were reported to or for that matter if the threats were even reported? I just hope that anyone making threats to the school board is caught and punished. Publish their names and pics in RC.

  • I would like to know where the "threats" were reported to.