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Miller tapped to lead Green school district

6/20/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Jeffrey Miller, the new superintendent of Green Local Schools, is shown with sons Jeffrey, at left, and Jackson after being congratulated by members of the Green Board of Education at the June 18 meeting.
Photo: Kathleen  Folkerth
GREEN — Jeffrey Miller, whose entire education career has been in the Green Local Schools, has been chosen as the district’s new superintendent.

During the Board of Education’s June 18 meeting, the board unanimously voted to approve the hiring of Miller as superintendent effective Aug. 1. They also approved him serving as interim superintendent from June 19 through July 31 as needed.

In addition, the board accepted Miller’s resignation from his position as principal at Green Middle School.

Miller and Dennis Honkala, superintendent of the Ravenna School District, were the two finalists for the job after the resignation of Superintendent Michael Nutter this spring.

The two finalists were interviewed again June 13-14, each spending a day with district officials, staff and parents who were involved in the selection process.

While Miller was officially hired, Board President Steven Foster said his contract is not yet finalized.

Board members said they were impressed with all the candidates, especially the finalists, but Miller stood out for several reasons.

“We had some very good candidates, and the two finalists were exceptional,” said Connie Leonard. “Jeff was the best fit.”

“We are very excited to have Jeff as the leader of our district,” added Lynn Wiggins. “He was a wonderful leader at the middle school, and I think he will be an outstanding leader of the district.”

Miller, who attended the meeting with his wife, Jenni, and children Joshua, Jackson and Jeffrey, said he’s happy to step up to the new job.

“I’m looking forward to continuing in the district I started out in,” said Miller, who first came to the district as a student teacher and then was hired to teach at Green Intermediate School in 2000. He was the assistant principal at the middle school from 2005 to 2008 and then served as principal there. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of staff and parents.”

Miller is a Twinsburg native who received his undergraduate degree in elementary education from Walsh University. He earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Ashland University and said he will complete coursework to earn his superintendent’s license this summer. He and his family live in Lake Township but have put their house on the market in anticipation of moving to Green, he said.

Foster said he was happy to see so many members of the school community come together to provide input on the hiring. He added he’s also pleased to have Miller move up into his new post, citing his “integrity.”

“We had a little bit of a rough patch, but we are headed in the right direction,” Foster said.

Also during the meeting, the board heard a presentation on the completed strategic plan for the district. Julie McMahan, Penny Ragon, Bob McKee and Dave Cohen spearheaded the effort during the past year.

Dozens of volunteers assisted in the process, McMahan said, which aimed to define the purpose of the district, provide a framework for evaluation and improve its performance. Committees on academics, communication, leadership and human resources, operations, student culture and technology were formed, and members collaborated on goals and objectives.

“This is not a wish list,” McMahan said. “This is where we want to go.”

The next steps, she said, are for the board to endorse the plan and then for the district to craft a mission statement.

Board members noted that with Miller taking the helm of the district, it’s a good time for the plan to be implemented. In addition, Leonard asked that district officials find ways to reach out to community members who were not involved in the process so far.

In other business, the board approved a 10-cent increase in school lunch prices for the coming school year. Effective in the fall, lunch will cost $2.85 at the high school, $2.60 at the intermediate and middle schools, and $2.35 at the primary school and Greenwood Early Learning Center. The increase was required by the federal government to raise the average price paid to be in line with mandated guidelines, according to Wendall Jackson, director of operations.

The board also approved all items on its consent calendar, including the June 30 retirement of Daryl Witmer, director of student services.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for July 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Central Administration Building, 1755 Town Park Blvd.

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