Archived Story

11 vying to lead district after DeCamp retirement

Published 8:59am Thursday, April 18, 2013

COAL GROVE — Eleven educators want to be the new superintendent of the Dawson-Bryant School District including the district’s current high school principal and the current and past superintendents of the South Point district.

Current superintendent Dennis DeCamp, who came to Coal Grove in 2008, will retire effective June 30. The board of education solicited applications for the post in March and will now narrow down candidates for on-site interviews.

Four of those who applied have ties to Lawrence County. Steven Easterling, currently principal at Dawson-Bryant High School, has spent his entire career in the district, starting with the post of principal at the middle school in 1988.

Ken Cook, who will retire as South Point school superintendent in May, has spent 38 years in that district starting as guidance counselor for the high school, then Burlington Elementary and South Point Middle School principal before becoming superintendent in 2002. A year ago Cook also put his hat in the ring to become superintendent of Chesapeake schools, a post won by former Fairland superintendent Jerry McConnell.

George York was superintendent of South Point schools from 1988 to 1990 before going back to the classroom the next year as a seventh-eighth grade teacher for five years. He was named principal of the high school in 2004 and principal of the middle school in 2007. York, who has almost 50 years experience in education, is currently an educational consultant for the Pike-Ross Educational Services District.

Jeremy Newman has been principal at Symmes Valley Elementary since 2010 and started his school career as a math teacher in the Jamestown district in 1998. Before coming to Symmes Valley, Newman was assistant principal at the middle and high schools in Greenup County, Ky.

One other current superintendent seeks the Dawson-Bryant post. Since 2007 Mike Staggs has been superintendent of New Boston Local Schools and held the same position at the Switzerland of Ohio schools in Woodsfield from 2005 to 2007.

Besides York, there are two other potential candidates who have past experience as a superintendent.

Bryan Miller was superintendent of the board of developmental disabilities in Montgomery, Hancock and Wyandot counties. His last position was as chief operating officer for Gateways to Better Living in Youngstown, which he held in 2012.

Currently Darren Jenkins is consultant for the North Central Educational Service Center in Tiffin. Before taking that post in 2012, Jenkins was superintendent of the Northwest Educational Service Center in Archbold and head of the South Central Educational Service Center in Portsmouth from 2000 to 2007.

For the past year Dennis Spisak has been assistant principle at the University Project Learning Center in Youngstown. Before that he was middle school principal at Brookfield Local Schools and assistant principal at the Ohio Department of Youth Services.

Two other candidates have experience as principals. Mark Fenik is currently middle school principal at Bloom-Carroll Local Schools in Carroll, a post he has held since 2006. Before that he was a high school intervention specialist for Fort Recovery Local Schools. L. James Wilson has been director of instruction for the Zanesville schools since 2010. Before that he was principal and district curriculum director at Wayne Trail Elementary School in Maumee for four years and assistant principal at the middle school at Maumee for seven years.

Lori Lowe is currently special education supervisor for the Ross-Pike Educational Services Center in Chillicothe, a post she has had since 2004. Before that she was a special education teacher for the Scioto Valley district in Piketon.

The Dawson-Bryant school board will meet on Monday to review the applications.

“They are preparing for the next meeting so we can have a conversation regarding the interest in certain applications and take the 11 and bring that down for meaningful interviews,” said Dr. James Payne, superintendent of the county educational services center, which is acting as a consultant in the process for Dawson-Bryant.

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