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Six candidates compete for superintendent

March 4, 2011

BELPRE - The six candidates for the superintendent of Belpre City Schools has been announced.

The six are: Andrew Cunningham, director of special education at Warren Local Schools, with 27 years of educational experience; Lisa A. Carmichael, superintendent of Massilon (Ohio) City Schools, with 24 years of educational experience; Dwight "Tony" A. Dunn, superintendent of Georgetown (Ohio) Exempted Village, with 24 years of experience; Thomas D. Gay, president and CEO of the Quality Schools Group near Detroit, with a doctorate in education and 20 years of experience; William S. McKinney, director of Highlands Community Learning Center in Columbus with a doctorate in education and 17 years of experience; and Tony H. Meinerding, former superintendent of the Holgate (Ohio) Local Schools in with 21 years of experience.

The search for a new Belpre City Schools superintendent began Dec. 2. The school board plans to announce the new superintendent during the March 21 board meeting after three rounds of interviews.

Article Photos

Photo by Jolene Craig
Kendall Lee, search consultant for the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), led the discussion with the 14 community leaders and parents during an open community meeting in late January to learn what the Belpre City Schools District wants out of a new superintendent.

In the fall, the school board hired the Ohio School Boards Association to aid in the superintendent search, which includes the organization receiving and going through all applications and giving the board their recommendation.

On Jan. 27, Kendall Lee, search consultant for the association, held three separate meetings with teachers, staff and community members within the school district to see what they want in a superintendent.

During the meetings, Lee asked a series of questions that include the major issues, challenges and opportunities facing the district in the next three to five years; what professional qualifications are essential for the next superintendent; and what personal characteristics are most important.

Lee said that in all three meetings, the answers and comments were all very similar.

"You are more alike in this district than you are different," he said.

The three groups listed finances and community support for the district as major issues, challenges and opportunities with being active in the community and working with the teachers and staff as professional qualifications they want in a new superintendent.

"As parents, I don't know how to stress the trouble this district is in," said Melinda Baker, who has two children in the elementary school.

Lee said he has spent time in Belpre and has listened to the community as well as those working in the schools and feels that he understands what is needed in a superintendent for the district.

"This is a transformation that has to occur and the superintendent needs to come with a clear understanding and a clear plan for the district to turn it around," he said.

Several community leaders have said a big step is for the new superintendent to get out in the community and the schools.

"They need to be visible and not invisible in the schools and the community," said Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz. "It is important to know that they are here for the community as much as they are here for the schools because the schools are the community and the community is the schools."

While the OSBA will not choose the new superintendent for the district, Lee with outside consultants will go through all applicants and his report from the district meetings and make a recommendation as to who they think is the best candidate. Lee said he is not allowed to tell how many applications the OSBA has received for the Belpre position, but that there is interest.

"There have been individuals from outside the state that have contacted the OSBA about (the opening)," he said.



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