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Manchester community helping with super search

7/10/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Joyce Rainey Long

NEW FRANKLIN — The Manchester Local Schools Board of Education will consider recent community input in the search for a new superintendent.

Sam Reynolds, 67, has served as superintendent for the past 10 years and has worked for the district for 44 years. He is retiring Aug. 31.

The board selected Linda Fuline, superintendent of the Summit County Educational Service Center (ESC), to facilitate the search for a new superintendent at no cost to the district. The board has received 19 applicants for the position, she said. The deadline for applications is today, July 11.

During the July 8 board meeting, Fuline shared the compilation of priority items from the community input session June 30, when approximately 80 residents listed the characteristics they consider to be the most important for a new superintendent.

“Our team was impressed with the seriousness and thoroughness and sincere participation,” said Melissa Habowksi, director of human resources at the ESC. She said the ESC categorized the characteristics for the next steps of the search process. Categories include the superintendent’s relationship with staff, community, unions and the board; leadership experience and skills; and familiarity with Manchester Local Schools traditions and achievements.

Fuline said with the input from the community and from the board, a rubric will be designed to help with the screening process to review applications and to form targeted and appropriate questions for the superintendent applicants.

A screening committee has been formed with seven members. The committee will consist of two board members, a school administrator, a representative from the Manchester Education Association and a representative from the classified workers union along with two people from the ESC.

The screening committee will meet July 16, said Fuline, and will narrow the applicants down to five. The board then will conduct interviews of the candidates, she said, adding she hopes a superintendent will be hired before the start of school.

“The board has the legal responsibility to make the decision about the superintendent, but clearly there’s respect for the community when making the decision,” Fuline said.

Also during the meeting, the board approved a physical education waiver that will be effective for the 2015-16 school year. According to James Robinson, Ph.D., director of curriculum and instruction, students may choose to waive their half credit physical education requirement if they play two seasons on an athletic team, cheer or are in marching band.

“Kids still need to be physically fit, but they may benefit by upgrading the rigor of their coursework,” said Robinson, adding the students may have more options with taking Advance Placement or post-secondary courses.

“Students and their families should be able to make this decision, and the opportunity is available to them,” said Reynolds.

In another matter, the board hired Anthony Hite as the part-time athletic director. Hite is an English teacher at Manchester High School and former assistant principal. He also has coached boys basketball. He will continue to teach and serve as the athletic director, said Board President Rick Sponseller.

Reynolds said he made changes to the athletic director position that required the person to have administrative credentials. The athletic director must evaluate coaches, monitor fundraising and communicate with the school and community, Reynolds said.

“In the future, this will be very important to Manchester Schools,” said Reynolds.

The athletic director position was previously held by Gene Schindewolf, who did not re-apply for the position, said Reynolds. According to Reynolds, Schindewolf, who has been athletic director for 26 years, retired a few years ago and was then rehired by the district. He said Schindewolf will continue to coach boys basketball.

In other business, the board:

  • accepted one certified resignation and two classified resignations;
  • approved five certified appointments, including Rachel Caruso as a part-time intervention specialist at Manchester Middle School; Stephanie Fassnacht as a high school science teacher; Sarah Flanagan as a Manchester Middle School counselor; Julie Hoxworth as Nolley Elementary art teacher; and Jennifer Mihajlovic as a fifth-grade teacher at Manchester Middle School;
  • approved Allyson Krosnick as the flag line adviser;
  • accepted donations of about $427 from Building 9 Corp. on South Main Street for drum covers for the Manchester band; about $14,856 from the Nolley PTA for Nolley Elementary; $25 from the Nolley PTA for the Arnold Scholarship and $25 from the Nolley PTA for the Hauenstein Scholarship.
    “The board feels, as I do, very grateful and thankful to the PTA for the huge contribution to the schools,” Reynolds said; and
  • approved the procedure for the destruction of records that was required by the state auditor.
    A moment of silence was held to honor Tim Dougherty, a New Franklin resident, who died July 7. He was the father of former Manchester Middle School teacher Christopher Dougherty.

The next meeting will take place Aug. 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Administration Building, located at 6075 Manchester Road.

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