Before members of the Oregon school board embark in earnest on the search for a new superintendent, they will listen to residents and staff of the district.
A community forum is scheduled for June 3 at 7 p.m. in the Clay High School library to discuss issues facing the district and how they will impact the search process.
Dr. Michael Zalar announced recently he is leaving the Oregon district to take the position of superintendent of North Olmstead City School District. He’d been superintendent in Oregon since 2008 and was principal of Clay High School for five years prior to that.
Input from residents and staff members received during the forum will be considered when the board conducts reference checks and candidate interviews, said P.J. Kapfhammer, president of the school board.
Kapfhammer said the board hasn’t set a timeframe for hiring a superintendent.
“We would like to interview the finalists during the week of July 17th but that will depend on how comfortable the board feels with the quality of applicants,” he said in an email message to The Press.
The major issues expected to confront the district during the next three to five years, performance expectations and personal and professional qualities of the next superintendent will also be discussed during the forum, according to a news release from the board.
“I want the best person for Oregon City Schools. I don't have any set criteria for our next superintendent. I just want someone who wants to be here for the community and the kids. We want to hear from the community so we can move forward with the community’s best interest at heart,” Kapfhammer said.
Board member Carol-Ann Molnar said the board plans to review applications and choose the top five candidates by June 13.
Another board member, Diana Gadus, said the district is implementing new programs and questions if the board needs to quickly fill the top administrative post.
“Do we need to hire a superintendent at this time? As a board member I think it is valuable to thoroughly evaluate where we are as a district, what are the goals to be accomplished this next school year and direction of our district as a whole,” she said. “We are implementing new curriculum, new I pads for seventh and eighth grade and a new reconfiguration. Our assistant superintendent, Hal Gregory, has the lead with regards to the implementation teams. I question whether we need a new superintendent immediately. Mr. Gregory can become an interim until a well thought evaluation can be done. I feel it would be better to wait and re-evaluate in January after we have established and evaluated the changes in our district. “
Dr. Zalar was hired by the North Olmsted school board during a special meeting on May 22 and he is expected to start work there on Aug. 1, according to the North Olmstead website.
He was selected from an initial field of approximately 27 candidates, and was one of three finalists for the position.
Oregon voters last month strongly supported the renewal of a 2-mill, 5-year permanent improvement levy: 1,444 – for to 874 – against, according to unofficial results compiled by the Lucas County Board of Elections.
The Oregon district received an “Effective” rating in the state report card for the 2011-12 school year. The state rates districts on achievement test scores, graduation tests and attendance and graduation rates.