Warren rejects all 3 finalists

VINCENT – The Warren Local Board of Education did not select any of the three candidates who met with community members this weekend to be the district’s next superintendent.

“At this point, the three candidates that we interviewed are not being considered and the process of looking for a superintendent is continuing,” board President Sidney Brackenridge said Monday following a meeting that consisted of the Pledge of Allegiance, a motion to go into closed, executive session and, nearly two-and-a-half-hours later, a vote to adjourn.

The board’s next step has not been determined. Using an interim superintendent, revisiting the 14 remaining applicants or seeking new applications may be possibilities.

“At this point, everything’s possible,” board member John Nichols said. “Any option you can think of may have to be utilized.”

Monday was the day the board was hoping to choose its next superintendent, the end of a whirlwind process that began a month ago, a little less than two weeks before current Superintendent Tom Gibbs officially resigned to take an associate superintendent job in the Athens City school district. Eighteen people submitted resumes for the job by May 28, and the board interviewed six of them on June 3 and 4.

They invited two back for interviews with the community and district employees, and when one of them withdrew, the board brought two of the remaining four back. More than 40 people attended the Saturday sessions at the high school, according to one person who was there.

A group of employees and two groups of residents were asked to rank the candidates – Strasburg-Franklin Local Superintendent Curtis M. Clough; Michael B. Edwards, special education director of Clear Fork Valley Schools; and New Lexington Elementary Principal J. Gregory Grant – in order of preference. Each group had a different person in the No. 1 slot, Nichols said.

“I don’t believe the community came to a consensus on it. I don’t believe the school board came to a consensus,” Brackenridge said.

Both Brackenridge and Nichols declined to go into specifics about the three candidates. Nichols did say the timing of the search, coming after many hires have been made, may have impacted the results.

“The fact that this is May instead of January makes a big difference,” he said.

One teacher in the district and one community resident attended Monday’s meeting but declined to speak on the record.

Brackenridge said the hiring of a principal and assistant principal at both Warren High School and Barlow-Vincent Elementary will not be delayed by the continuing superintendent search.

“The vacancies that are out there right now are being looked at and being filled,” Brackenridge said.

Gibbs is overseeing that process, Nichols said.

“That’s his job until he doesn’t work here anymore,” he said.

District officials had expressed a desire to get the new superintendent in place as soon as possible so he could be involved in the hirings. Just prior to Gibbs’ resignation, high school Principal Dan Leffingwell accepted a job as superintendent of Noble Local Schools, while B-V Principal Stephanie Starcher was hired as Fort Frye Local’s superintendent, a job Gibbs also held for the last year.