Whitehall News

Board will reboot search for new chief

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Whitehall Board of Education members are reopening their search for a new superintendent following hours of interviews and discussions earlier this month.

Board members went into executive session Feb. 14 to discuss the "employment of a public employee or official."

Board member Blythe Wood called for the closed-door session.

Although the panel took no formal action, except to adjourn for the night, board president Walter Armes told ThisWeek the district has decided to repost the superintendent's position.

"We couldn't get that comfort level that we needed," Armes said of the breakdown in the search.

Longtime Superintendent Judyth Dobbert-Meloy announced her plans to retire last year. After more than three decades in education, she told the district it's time to move on to other things. She held the job in Whitehall for about 13 years.

Following numerous hours of interviews and discussions earlier this month, the school board narrowed its list of candidates to three. A total of 37 people applied for the position.

Board members spent eight hours over two nights, interviewing seven semifinalists.

The three candidates on Whitehall's short list were George J. Joseph, executive director of administrative services for Worthington City Schools; Tyrone L. Olverson, director of K-12 curriculum and instruction for Licking Heights Local Schools; and Richard D. Smith Jr., superintendent of the North Union Local School District.

Following the Feb. 6 and 7 interviews, Armes said the sessions went "fine."

Apparently, however, not everyone felt the same.

Also considered for the position were Ryan McClure, principal at Hilliard Darby High School; Tara D. Meyerink, superintendent of Buckeye Central Local Schools; Michael Scott Reeves, executive director of secondary academic affairs and extracurricular programs for Westerville City Schools; and Michael B. Staggs, superintendent of the New Boston Local School District.

Whitehall hired the Ohio School Boards Association in 2012 to help in the search.

Kathy LaSota, director of school board services for OSBA, is leading the charge and is expected to repost the position.

Armes said the position likely would be open again for the next three weeks or less. Anyone interested must apply -- or reapply if an application already has been submitted.

"We want to move fast," Armes said following the Feb. 14 executive session.

Dobbert-Meloy handed board members her letter of resignation in August, during an executive session meant to discuss her annual review. She said she would not leave, though, until the district's construction project is completed and the final building, Whitehall-Yearling High School, has been dedicated -- probably in the summer.

Board members had hoped to have someone in place in March.

Also at this month's regular meeting, board members approved the retirement of the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Susie Carr is retiring after 16 years with Whitehall, but she's not going anywhere. Board members went on to approve her rehire into the same position for another year beginning in May "in order to help with the new superintendent's transition," Dobbert-Meloy said.

The rehire is pending "an opportunity for public input on this matter at the board meeting April 11, 2013," according to the official motion.

Whitehall has had several retire-and-rehire instances over the past several years and has had little objection from the public.

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