ATTICA Michael Wank said he is proud of his accomplishments as superintendent at Seneca East but is ready for the challenges of a new district.
Wank is leaving Seneca East after 15 years to become superintendent at Carey Exempted Village Schools this month.
"Our emphasis (at Seneca East) on reading recovery at the first grade level really changes lives for children and families," Wank said. "Our move to one campus from three has improved our financial status, and the communities' support through the building campaign and the income tax issue really shows a positive school community partnership."
Wank said that he is going to miss the staff and the "positive atmosphere we created."
"The students and families are great to work with and they are very supportive and positive about their school," Wank said. "I've learned a great deal from the staff, students, and the community members I was able to work with. Probably the greatest lesson I've learned is that creating a positive atmosphere is contagious in a smaller school district."
Like many districts, Seneca East has experienced some tragedies, Wank said, but the community doesn't have to be asked to support each other when someone needs help.
Wank said his plans for Carey and the new school building are similar to his experiences at Seneca East.
"I want to work with the community to create the kind of school they believe is best for them," Wank said. "Whether it's working through the board of education, staff members, students, or directly with the community members through the building process, my hope is to create an atmosphere of trust where the community knows they can approach me with their ideas about what their school community should look like."
Wank said that he had no intention of leaving Seneca East, but after speaking with the Carey board of education, he felt that it would be the right move for him and his family.
"The average tenure for superintendents in Ohio is a little over three years," Wank said. "I've enjoyed my years at Seneca East."
Wank said that even though he will be leaving, Seneca East means a great deal to him.
"There were times when I wasn't sure if people outside the district paid very much positive attention to the district. But I learned that what's important is how the school community sees itself, and those outside the district will realize what a treasure we have on the east side of Seneca County."
Wank is to be replaced by Laura Kagy, who has been serving as assistant superintendent for Clyde-Green Springs Schools. The board of education announced her as superintendent during a special meeting Monday.
"She has a tremendous educational background, and she'll build upon the positives we've created at Seneca East," Wank said.
Wank is to work with Kagy this month while he begins his new position at Carey.
Prior to Seneca East, Wank held positions at private colleges for 11 years, including at Tiffin University and Saint Francis College in Fort Wayne, Ind.