Tri-Village News

School district bids Kipp, Bowser, Watkins farewell

All three will leave district in the summer; former mentor league director joins staff

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The Grandview Heights school board May 21 approved a new hire to fill the position of a longtime district employee and accepted the resignation of two other notable staff members.

The board approved hiring former TriVillage Mentor League Executive Director Hayley Head as executive assistant to the superintendent.

She will succeed Sandy Kipp, who will retire June 30 after serving the district for 35 years.

Superintendent Ed O'Reilly said to his knowledge, only one staff member has worked longer in the district than Kipp.

"She is just so committed to this school district and to Grandview Heights," O'Reilly said. "Her kids came through this district and she's been a fixture here."

The board also accepted the resignation of Stevenson Elementary School Principal Brian Bowser and Grandview Heights High School instrumental music teacher Kie Watkins, both effective July 31.

Bowser has been hired by the South-Western City School District as its executive director of elementary education.

"Brian's been here for six years and the building looks a lot different than it did when he got here," O'Reilly said. "He's brought a focus on literacy to Stevenson and built a strong school community.

"It's understandable why he got this new position and we wish him all the best, although we hate to see him go," he said.

The search for Bowser's replacement will begin with a "needs assessment" to determine the qualities and skills the district will want Stevenson's next principal to have, O'Reilly said.

"We will create an application process based on those factors and begin a screening of candidates," he said.

Committees will be formed to help interview candidates who go beyond the screening process, O'Reilly said.

The position will "absolutely" be filled before the beginning of the next school year in August, he said.

Watkins is leaving the district because his wife's company has transferred her outside of the country, O'Reilly said.

Since he came to Grandview in 1995, Watkins has built and sustained an instrumental music program few schools can match, he said.

"We have one-third of our students involved in the school band and you'd be hard pressed to find any other school that can say that," O'Reilly said. "It's a testament to the outstanding job he's done as band director that so many of our students want to be in the band."

O'Reilly also reported at the board meeting that current sophomores in the district performed well in preliminary results from the spring administration of the Ohio Graduation Test.

The lowest percentage of 10th-graders passing a section of the test was 95.1 on social studies. A total of 97.5 percent of the students passed the writing test, and the passage rates on reading, math and science tests were all 96.3 percent.

Although the results are preliminary, they show "our sophomore class is well on the way to passing the OGTs," O'Reilly said.

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