Johnstown Independent

School board selects interim superintendent

Board Member John Davis resigns from his seat

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Johnstown Monroe School Board said hello to an interim superintendent and goodbye to one of its members during the Feb. 18 meeting.

Four of the five members agreed that former North Fork Local Schools superintendent Tom Slater was the best candidate to act as interim superintendent as the board searches to replace outgoing superintendent Damien Bawn, who is retiring at the end of the month.

Board Member John Davis, who has served since 2005, announced he would resign from his board seat, effective at the end of the Feb. 18 meeting.

Davis did not participate in the closed-doors meeting that evening during which Slater was selected, but said he supports the board's decision.

"(Slater's) resume is really deep," said Board Member Jim Dodderer. "I can't think of a better candidate."

Dodderer said the Licking County Educational Service Center assisted with the search.

"They did a lot of the vetting process," said Dodderer, who added all four members participating in the closed-doors session agreed Slater was the best choice.

Slater will earn $350 per day while serving as interim superintendent.

"I'm really looking forward to working with him," Dodderer said.

He said one of Slater's main advantages is he helped guide North Fork through school building projects, which is currently a major concern for Johnstown Monroe.

"We didn't want to lose that ability (to move forward with the facilities discussions) in the interim," said Dodderer, who added Slater is also a charismatic individual who is eager to get started.

"I've known (Slater) for years," said Davis. "He's a good guy and he'll steer the district in the right direction."

Davis said he announced his resignation before board members entered the closed-doors meeting to discuss hiring Slater, and Davis was concerned there may be legal issues associated with a resigned board member participating in a private meeting, so he opted not to participate.

He said he wanted to make it clear his not participating in no way reflected upon the decision to hire Slater.

Davis said previously his decision to resign is based upon a couple events that took place during the Jan. 21 board meeting.

First was the board's vote not to place a bond issue on the May ballot to replace the district's aging and overcrowded facilities. The board voted 3-2 to place an issue on the May ballot, but four votes were necessary for it to be placed.

Board members Amy Ramey and Terry Holter voted against placing it on the May ballot.

Ramey said in her opinion the district should renew an upcoming emergency levy before a separate ballot issue is placed to finance new facilities.

Davis said he was also unhappy the board didn't go to greater lengths to retain Bawn when he announced he was leaving.

"Mr. Bawn has been very good for this district," said Davis, who added he believes Bawn could've been convinced to stay.

Davis said there are many reasons in general that prompted him to resign.

According to Johnstown Monroe's website, any district resident who is interested in filling Davis' position can submit a letter of interest by mail to the attention of Tammy Woods, district treasurer, 441 S. Main St., Johnstown, Ohio 43031; or by email to: twoods@johnstown. k12 oh.us; or by fax to 740-967-1106. Letters of interest will be accepted through March 13.

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