As I sit to write this first letter to the Shawnee community, I am very proud to be the superintendent of Shawnee Local Schools. I wish to thank those of you who have taken the time to welcome me to the district. When I spoke with the Board of Education through my interview process, I addressed three distinct processes I would perform in my role. These pillars of action would be enacted for the district and the community. The first of these pillars is to honor the past.
schools have a rich and valued history of excellence and success. I had
the pleasure of watching my first graduation ceremony in early June.
During that ceremony I witnessed Mrs. Beverly Sweeney become the latest
graduate honored as a distinguished alumni. This action is a testament
to the excellence and success for which I speak. As I walk throughout
the district, I see many items that share this history. I want to ensure
to you this history is, and will continue to be, a basic part of
Shawnee Local Schools.
The second pillar is to challenge the present.
My goal is the take time to study the district. I have spent the first
few months watching and listening. This has allowed me time to ask
questions as I evaluate our programs and processes. I am truly impressed
by the continued recognition of Shawnee High School as a Best High
School award winner by U.S. News and World Report.
Couple that with meeting third grade reading guarantee numbers and
outstanding graduation numbers: it is great to see the continued
success of Shawnee Local Schools!
if you are not improving, you are losing ground. I am not one to put my
faith in moving targets. This is an exactly what the State of Ohio
continues to do with their Ohio School Report Cards. In the coming
months, I will be having open discussions with the Shawnee community to
establish a consensus of keys to success. From these discussions, it is
my hope that we can establish our own points of measurement to base
judgments. Many communities are currently taking this approach in order
to recapture local control of their own schools and to set in place a
local standard of
The final pillar is to envision the future.
The Shawnee community has been placed in a difficult situation by tax
law changes in the State of Ohio. The loss of Tangible Personal Property
(TPP) tax is beginning to show its ugly head. We will have lost nearly
$1.3 million from the last budget implemented by the State of Ohio. I
personally do not see this new form of taxation changing, so the impact
of this loss will continue. We need to have discussions about this in
the near future to ensure our district continues to be financially
my early discussions with several community members, there has been a
shared concern regarding our facilities. Numerous individuals have
expressed a need to look at our current buildings and the age they carry
with them. With that in mind, I have contacted Garmann-Miller,
architects from Minster, Ohio to do a study of our facilities. They will
be in our district during the month of August to perform this task. The
goal of this study is to have an independent firm evaluate our
buildings and to report their findings to the board of education. It is
at this point, the board can have sincere discussions on what actions,
if any, are warranted.
education like many other aspects of our lives is in constant change.
We need to embrace this change while maintaining the principles that
brought Shawnee to the standards we expect from our district. The impact
of brain research, technology, teaching techniques, and so many other
developments will force us to self-evaluate our means of operation.
Thus, we must identify our core beliefs...Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships.
Research supports three keys to learning and these keys will continue
to drive our growth and success at Shawnee Local Schools.