Public offers opinions on school chief job

The Ohio School Board Association held an open forum Tuesday evening for the public to express opinions on the search for a new superintendent.

Tiffin City Schools Superintendent Donald Coletta is to retire Dec. 31.

Cheryl Ryan, deputy director of school board services for the OSBA, ran six focus group sessions throughout the day, ending with the community meeting.

Board member Roland Zimmerman welcomed a small group of community members. He said the purpose of the forum was to have community input on what kind of superintendent is hired and what experience that person would have to operate a school district. Zimmerman said the board was asked to not be present so community members could speak freely.

Ryan said she heard opinions from an administration group, a community leader group, an education association group and a group of district committees.

“The common theme that I had heard today was that people want a community builder and a strong educational leader,” Ryan said. “The OSBA is trying to find the most attractive candidates for the district. Not to just find a candidate, but the right candidate.”

Deb Baker, an English teacher at Columbian High School, said she wants a person who can bring intelligent educational leadership and motivate and support personnel.

The OSBA is to take the opinions from each group, including the TCS Board of Education, to finalize a profile and begin sorting out candidates who would be the best fit for Tiffin.

Community member Pat DeMonte said she would like someone who is “open to new ideas.” DeMonte is the executive director for the Tiffin-Seneca United Way.

“We should have someone that is community minded, who can listen and who is an effective communicator that is able to get information across to community members,” she said.

Application deadline is Oct. 21. Then the OSBA is to screen candidates and compare them to the profile, Ryan said. Board members then are to choose a group of candidates to interview and narrow the group that fits their interests.

Ryan said the board would like to have the position filled by Thanksgiving.