December 22, 2014

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North Ridgeville names new superintendent

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Board of Education members went in-house to choose a new superintendent.

Powell

Jim Powell, the district’s assistant superintendent/director of curriculum and instruction, was unanimously appointed by board members Wednesday to succeed outgoing Superintendent Larry Brown, effective Jan. 2.

Powell, 55, was hired in 2002 as a math teacher at North Ridgeville High School and also has served as principal of Lear Elementary School and the North Ridgeville Education Center.

Board President Maria Sycz said board members chose Powell rather than hiring an interim superintendent because his experience will allow for a smoother transition than bringing in an outsider.

“There won’t be a learning curve for someone new coming in at a time that’s critical for us,” she said.

Powell said his main focus will be on maintaining academics in the district, which has about 400 employees and shed about 100 employees in the last few years with budget cuts. The district, which has about 4,100 students and an approximately $32 million general fund budget, received an excellent rating in its latest state report card.

“Our teachers have done a really good job under difficult times maintaining that (academic) focus,” he said. “We want to continue that.”

Powell said other priorities will be the renewal levy in May, upcoming contract negotiations with teachers, custodial and secretarial staff and bringing back elective classes such as such as art and business and financial literacy classes, which were reduced as part of the cuts, back to the high school.

“We need to evaluate the kind of things we need to bring back,” he said. “That’s going to take some studying.”

Powell, who will earn $118,000 in his new position plus incentives, has a contract that runs through July 31, 2015. Rather than a salary schedule, Powell, a graduate of Miami University and the University of Cincinnati, will be compensated based on performance and meeting state academic standards.

Brown, who was hired last year to a three-year contract that paid $123,769 annually, is leaving early to become Wauseon Schools superintendent, where he will earn $105,000 annually. Brown cited unspecified personal and professional reasons for his departure.

The announcement came shortly before voters approved a 10-year, 5.9-mill property tax levy.

At a glance

Jim Powell, the district’s assistant superintendent /director of curriculum and instruction, was hired in 2002 as a math teacher at North Ridgeville High School and also has served as principal of Lear Elementary School and the North Ridgeville Education Center. The 55-year-old will earn $118,000 in his new position plus incentives.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.