Reynoldsburg News

New school superintendent has roots in Reynoldsburg

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Reynoldsburg's new superintendent is someone with deep roots in the community and the school district.

The Reynoldsburg Board of Education voted unanimously Monday, Jan. 27, to hire Thomas-Manning to succeed Superintendent Steve Dackin, who announced in November that he would retire July 31. He has been superintendent since 2007.

Thomas-Manning is currently associate superintendent at the Ohio De-partment of Education, directing the Division of Accountability and Quality Schools.

She served as principal at Hannah Ashton Middle School for six years, had a stint as assistant principal at Reynoldsburg High School and was also the district's executive director of middle level education.

Her two sons attend Baldwin Road Junior High School.

"I know the Reynoldsburg community, enjoyed working with the students and staff and understand the expectations that come with being a leader in the district," she said. "I'm excited about having the opportunity to continue the tradition of academic excellence for all students and to work in a district that encourages innovation."

Thomas-Manning said she will begin working full-time for the district May 1 and that Dackin will assist in her transition until he retires.

Board President Andrew Swope said Thomas-Manning's experience in Reynoldsburg and in state leadership will be valuable, noting that Reynoldsburg schools have received national attention for improved academic performance and innovative approaches.

The school board opted not to mount an extensive search for a new superintendent.

"We are in the position to attract high-quality candidates from throughout the country," he said. "Tina Thomas-Manning is our first and only choice."

Swope said Reynoldsburg has a system in place to "groom" the next superintendent, instead of hiring a search firm to look for nationwide candidates.

"Several years ago, the board put in place a plan to identify and groom an individual to be the district's next superintendent as we knew our current superintendent, Steve Dackin, was nearing retirement," he said. "This is the same procedure used when Mr. Dackin was brought in as superintendent.

"We have had excellent results and feel this method gives us a better knowledge of a candidate's strengths, weaknesses and values as they relate to educating children in an ever-changing environment.

"Tina was our choice based on her achievements while working in the district," Swope said. "Her values mirror those of the board of education and her extensive knowledge of Reynoldsburg City Schools will give her the ability to hit the ground running when she starts on May 1.

"I feel her short time spent at the Ohio Department of Education will act as an enhancement to the skill set needed to be the district's superintendent," he said.

Thomas-Manning said "maintaining the tradition of academic excellence" will be one of her most important goals.

"I will continue to explore opportunities for our district to build business and community partnerships that will enrich student learning and create operational efficiencies for our district," she said. "I will also continue efforts to recruit and retain high-performing teachers and leaders who ensure our students are college and career ready upon graduation."

Board members offered Thomas-Manning a three-year contract with a base pay of $157,500 -- about $12,300 more than Dackin was paid. Unlike Dackin, however, she will forego contributions for health insurance, pension and Medicare.

The total compensation package will amount to $175,300 -- about $28,000 less than Dackin is receiving. Her contract includes a $10,000 annuity and a $7,800 allowance for automobile, communications and other expenses. She will be eligible for a bonus of up to 3 percent based on how well she meets goals specified in her contract.

Thomas-Manning began her career teaching high school English from 1990 to 1996 at Gahanna Lincoln High School, then spent two years as assistant principal at Hilliard Davidson High School. She first came to Reynoldsburg in 1999, serving as assistant principal at Reynoldsburg High School until 2002, then spent four years as assistant principal, then principal, at Blendon Middle School in Westerville before returning to Reynoldsburg as principal at Hannah Ashton from 2006 to 2012.

During her tenure at Hannah Ashton, the school's performance improved from a grade of C to an A-plus on the state report card.

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