By Brett Milam
West Clermont Local Schools is in search of a new superintendent after Dr. Keith Kline, the current superintendent, plans to step down at the end of the school year.
Kline, who has been superintendent since 2012, oversaw the merging of Amelia and Glen Este high schools and the opening of the new West Clermont High School. He is moving on to be executive director of Grant Us Hope, an organization in Cincinnati that focuses on teen suicide prevention.
The next superintendent is inheriting one of the biggest districts in the area, with nearly 8,400 students spread across 10 buildings. The application deadline for those interested in the multi-year contract was April 30.
The Board of Education voted on April 9 to use the search firm CF Educational Solutions at a cost of $19,000 to conduct the search, which has drawn some controversy. Board members Tammy Brinkman and David Schaeff voted against the measure.
CF is comprised of four former superintendents: Adrienne James, a retired superintendent from Sycamore School District; Robert Farrell, a retired superintendent with experience in Fairfield City and Milford School District; Mary Ronan, recently retired superintendent from Cincinnati Public Schools; and Robert Sommers, a retired superintendent from Butler Tech.
At the April 23 meeting, Teresa Bard and her son, Jaden, who is a student at the school, spoke about their reservations regarding the superintendent search.
Jaden said he was upset and that the money could’ve been spent on something more useful.
“If you have ever been to the middle school, you should have noticed there are holes in the ceiling and wires hanging down,” he said. “And you also would have noticed the potholes in the driveway for pickup.”
In addition, there are broken chairs in classrooms, Jaden said, adding that the $19,000 could have gone to the students.
Teresa said she was disappointed and embarrassed how the hiring firm was handled.
“After the last meeting, our left very angry and very disappointed by our elected school board,” she said. “I don’t understand how you didn’t allow for a proper vetting process. If you were worried about the timeframe, then it seemed logical to use an interim superintendent for now and take the time to do the process correctly.”
Teresa said she felt personal feelings got in the way of the decision to use CF.
“Just know this decision has made the public question the motives of the elected school board,” she said. “I hope for the future of our district, you did the right thing and we find the best superintendent fit for West Clermont. I ask that you work on being more transparent and better about communicating with the public.”
It’s about fiscal responsibility and the best interest of the district, Teresa said.
CF put out a survey through Survey Monkey to “enable stakeholders to identify the top qualities they most desire in the next superintendent.”
Some of the questions on the survey are things like naming the three most pressing issues facing the next superintendent, the top five characteristics for the new superintendent and how one would describe the district as a whole.
The deadline to complete the survey is May 11, 2018. Find the link here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WestClermont.