Johnstown Independent

Superintendent position

Northridge narrows search to two finalists


The Northridge Local School District has narrowed its search for a new superintendent to two candidates, and the school board is on schedule to name its top pick during its Dec. 17 meeting.

The superintendent search, conducted by the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio for Northridge Local Schools, was to continue this week with second-round interviews Dec. 8. Concurrent to board interviews, the community and district staff were invited to meet in a dialogue session with each candidate and provide input to the board in a survey of five questions.

"While one candidate is meeting with the board, the other will meet with the staff and the community," Interim Superintendent George Tombaugh said. The two candidates are Dr. Matthew Lutz, executive director of education at the Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center in Mansfield, and Dr. Chris Briggs, regional executive director at Columbus City Schools. Lutz moved forward from the first round of interviews, and Briggs was invited to meet with the Northridge board to explore the position.

"I'm pretty excited," board president Mark Dann said.

He said it's important to have as much input as possible from the staff and community during the selection process and that he welcomes the "meet the candidate" session that would coincide with the interviews. Dann said although he would like to see the hiring process stay on schedule, the board is not obligated to make an announcement Dec. 17 if board members believe the interview process isn't yet completed.

"There's a lot of work to be done between now and then," he said.

Tombaugh said leadership is an important trait in a superintendent candidate, as is the ability to look forward over the next several years and be able to plan for the district's future.

"Of course, communication is important," he said. "A lot of good things are going on here (at Northridge), and people need to know that. It's a very committed staff, and they need to be recognized for good work."

Tombaugh said the perfect candidate would be able to help the district create a sense of community identity, particularly in a district as vast as Northridge, which contains several individual communities. He said that in such areas, the school district sometimes is the one unifying factor. Tombaugh agreed that the board is on schedule to name a new superintendent Dec. 17.

"We're right on track with the organized time line," he said.

Former Superintendent John Shepard resigned his position Sept. 14 but will remain with the district as educational operations consultant for the remainder of the term of his contract, which expires July 31, 2013. He will work primarily from home.