Fort Frye board has treasurer, principal openings

BEVERLY – The Fort Frye Local Board of Education on Thursday accepted the resignation of a principal and made plans to hire a new treasurer.

Lee Petty, who has served as principal of both Lowell and Salem-Liberty Elementary schools for three years, is resigning effective Sept. 27 to pursue other professional opportunities, Superintendent Stephanie Starcher said after the board’s regular meeting at Beverly-Center Elementary School.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Melcie Wells, who has held that position in both the Fort Frye and Warren Local districts since January 2012, is returning to full-time status in the Warren district.

Wells said personal reasons and the changing of the administrative makeup in both districts prompted her decision.

“It just became evident to me that it would be more fair to both of the districts to go back to being full-time,” she said.

Both Warren and Fort Frye have new superintendents this year, and Wells said it seemed best that they get full support during the transition period. She said she’s enjoyed her time working at Fort Frye, an arrangement that saved both districts tens of thousands of dollars a year.

“It’s been a great experience though, and I think the board and the administration here in the last year-and-a-half, we’ve come a long way,” Wells said. “I have nothing but positive things to say about the district.”

Board member Kevin Worthington said he’s sorry to see Wells go, a sentiment echoed by others on the board.

“She’s been a great, great treasurer for us,” he said.

Wells and Tom Gibbs, who served as superintendent of Warren and Fort Frye for a year before taking a job with Athens City Schools, both had five-year contracts approved by each school board earlier this year. The boards gave each administrator an individual contract, in case parties wanted to end the arrangement earlier, then amended them to reflect a “part-time” status.

Starcher said the district wanted to continue sharing the treasurer’s position, but will be seeking its own full-time treasurer as Wells’ replacement. It makes sense with the changes in state funding and mandates coming down this year, she said.

“She’s agreed with us to stay on for a while to help us through the transition,” Starcher said.

That process is under way, with the job being posted and a special meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 10 to go over candidates and perhaps conduct interviews.

As for the Lowell and Salem-Liberty principal jobs, Starcher said the plan is for one person to continue to oversee both schools. That job will be posted internally and statewide, with the goal of hiring a long-term replacement soon.

“We feel like we might have some internal people or people in the area that might be interested in” doing the job, Starcher said.

If the right candidate cannot be found, an interim principal could be appointed for the remainder of the year, she said.

In other business

Starcher told the board she was looking into having the district join a consortium of schools participating in the Ohio Appalachian Collaborative seeking a $15 million grant from the newly created Ohio Straight A Fund. The money would be used to expand on-campus college-credit offerings, which could benefit schools throughout the consortium by utilizing distance learning technology so that a teacher in one district could teach a class to students in others.

“The idea is that we would be able to use each other’s resources and teaching staff so that we can offer more opportunities for our students to keep them on campus,” Starcher said.

Warren and Wolf Creek Local are among the other school districts participating in the grant application.

The board unanimously approved district-wide elementary school fees of $36 per student. In years past, the amounts had varied between schools.