The Dublin City School District has hired a retired assistant principal and former athletics director for a part-time position to advise athletics directors at its three high schools and four middle schools.
Kip Witchey, who retired June 1 as an assistant principal at Dublin Scioto High School, on Aug. 1 began his new role as coordinator of athletics, said Superintendent Todd Hoadley.
Witchey, 53, was the district's first athletics director for Scioto when the school opened in 1995, Hoadley said. Because of his athletics experience, the district decided to bring him on in a part-time role to ensure Tom McDonnell, director of secondary education, could focus on academics for his new job, Hoadley said.
Craig Heath was the district's director of secondary education before his departure to the Delaware City School District, Hoadley said. His last contract day was July 31, according to district spokesman Doug Baker.
When McDonnell moved into Heath's role, the district eliminated McDonnell's previous role -- director of student operations -- and created a coordinator position instead. The coordinator will manage the International Baccalaureate and College Credit Plus programs.
As director of student operations, McDonnell used to meet with the athletics directors and athletics council, but the director of student operations is focused on academics, Baker said. Witchey now will fulfill that advisory role for athletics, he said.
Witchey's role does not involve supervising athletics directors, who still will report only to principals, Baker said. His role will be to provide a central point of contact on athletics issues for all parties involved, which is what McDonnell did as director of student operations, he said.
Witchey will be paid by the district through the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, Baker said. He still will receive his full retirement benefits in addition to the new part-time role, Baker said.
Witchey was hired through the ESC, Hoadley said, a decision that allowed the district to avoid attaching a multiyear contract to the position. The position is a one-year contract "to see how it works," he said.
The ESC is a local government entity that provides services for school districts, which can include fiscal, administrative, academic and operational roles, said Joe Weitz, communications and policy coordinator for the ESC.
It has no taxing authority, but it does receive some state funding based on the number of districts that work with it, he said. Districts also pay fees when they purchase certain services, he said.
Witchey will have a salary of $50,000 annually, Baker said. His benefits for the year are valued at roughly $25,800, according to David Varda, CFO and treasurer for the ESC.
"We have full confidence in Kip," Hoadley said. "He's going to do a wonderful job."
Witchey said his primary role will be supplementing the district's athletic directors, and he will report to McDonnell.
Witchey has been employed by the district for 32 years and is a 1983 graduate of Dublin High School. He began his career as a social-studies teacher and athletics director at Sells Middle School.
From there, he served as a social-studies teacher and assistant athletics director at Dublin Coffman High School. In 2011, he became assistant principal at Scioto.
He was athletics director at Scioto for 16 years.
Like Hoadley, Witchey said his new role would allow McDonnell to focus on academics.
The district's athletics programs are well-established, Witchey said.
"It's an opportunity to help the athletic directors with projects that (they) may not have time to work with," he said. "We'll maybe be able to come up with economic ways to do more with the money we have and just try to maintain a good product."
If the position works out, Witchey said, he's willing to continue serving for multiple years.
"I'm just blessed to have the opportunity to remain in the school district," he said. "I've bled Dublin green for my entire life. The school district has been very good to me in terms of not only a top-notch education, but also lots of opportunities for my own children and for me, as well.
"It's been great. I couldn't imagine myself being anywhere else in terms of athletics."
Witchey said he sees his position evolving over time. As of now, he expects to work in buildings quite a bit with the athletic directors, running athletics council meetings and holding monthly meetings with the athletics directors.
"I want to get feedback from ADs and see what (we could) be doing differently," he said.
Duane Sheldon, Coffman athletics director, said he is excited to work with Witchey.
"He's a great person with great experience," Sheldon said.
Scioto athletics director Nick Magistrale said Witchey's role was announced to the district's athletics directors in the latter part of this past school year.
"It's great to have someone with his knowledge and expertise," Magistrale said. "He's filled various administrative roles. He will bring a ton of value to the district, and we're happy that he will be back with us helping out."
Coffman principal Mike Ulring said Witchey's role will be a "big help."
"With a multi-high school district, you have to have somebody making sure the three are all on the same page because we all have different ideas," Ulring said. "It's important to have a go-to who can coordinate between the three, so nobody gets too far left of center. It's going to be great."