The new assistant boss of the Pickerington Local School District will be the same as the old one after the Pickerington School Board recently tapped Bob Blackburn for the post.
After two straight school years serving as interim-assistant superintendent for Pickerington, Blackburn now can remove the temporary label from his title.
Blackburn, formerly director of special education who also has served the past two school years as superintendent of the Pickerington Community School, June 10 was tapped unanimously by the board to serve as full-time assistant superintendent.
The board gave Blackburn a two-year contract, which will pay him an annual base salary of $113,643, plus an additional $50,138 in yearly benefits compensation.
The board approved his transfer from director of special education to full-time assistant superintendent on recommendation from Superintendent Rob Walker.
Blackburn was hired by Pickerington as a special education supervisor in June 2007. He became acting director of special education during the 2008-09 school year before being promoted to the position full-time the following year.
Blackburn has served as assistant superintendent the past two school years. In 2011-12, it was part of a realignment to address former superintendent Karen Mantia's resignation, and this school year Blackburn replaced former assistant superintendent Jim Sotlar, who left the district to become superintendent of Canal Winchester Local Schools.
"As an administrator, most people want to advance themselves," said Blackburn, who has a superintendent's license. "This gives me an opportunity to do that.
"Eventually, I want to be a superintendent, but this gives me some time to work with (Walker) and get that experience."
According to the district's website, the assistant superintendent is responsible for maintaining all school board policy and handles issues that involve residence, custody, building transfers, enrollment, attendance boundaries, discipline, school safety and instructional effectiveness.
Because of his employment transfer, Blackburn no longer will serve as the district's director of special education.
However, the special education department will be realigned in 2013-14 so Blackburn will oversee the work of two special education supervisors.
"(Blackburn), like (Walker), has just done a bang-up job in whatever he's done," said Board President Cathy Olshefski.
"The other thing I'm impressed by is (Blackburn), (Walker) and (District Treasurer Ryan Jenkins) work extremely well together.
"I believe that this is a very strong administrative trio leading this district. It's solid. It's one of respect."
Blackburn said it's likely he will be relieved of his administrative duties at the Pickerington Community School, but that decision has yet to be made by district officials.
In 2013-14, he said he's looking forward to assisting district officials and school building staff with implementing new curriculum and reviewing district policies to ensure they're up to date and appropriate.
"With all the new additions coming down from the state, I think it's going to be very important that I work closely with all of our building principals and district administrators to make sure these things get implemented and our staff has the support it needs," Blackburn said. "I'm excited about the opportunity.
"I think we've got a strong staff and Mr. Walker continues to evaluate the services we provide at the district office to make sure we're providing the best possible services we can to our staff and the community."