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DeCamp receives contract as superintendent

A divided Coal Grove School Board approved a 16-month contract for new superintendent Dennis DeCamp at Tuesday’s board meeting, but it came after several audience members voiced concerns over the new boss.

Audience members made several vague references about “allegations” that centered on DeCamp’s personal life, but those allegations were never explained by the audience members or the board members.

With about 30 in attendance, the board amended the agenda to allow for audience participation, which included some heated exchanges. The board later went into executive session to discuss the contract details.

Dave Wilson was one of those who addressed the board and said he would like for the board not to rush to a decision and to find out more information about the new hire.

“These allegations are concerning to me. I hope they’re not true because they are very serious,” Wilson said. “This is our district. This is our reputation. This is our school. These are our children.”

When later asked about the specifics of the allegations, Wilson declined to comment.

Roy Carpenter, a longtime member of the district’s booster club, said he was curious about the reasons DeCamp left his former job last month as administrator of the Sciotoville Community School.

Sciotoville Community School Governing Board President Bill Shope told The Tribune on Tuesday night that DeCamp resigned his position.

“In his resignation letter he stated that he wanted to pursue other career opportunities,” Shope said.

When contacted Wednesday morning, DeCamp said he believed it was simply time to move on.

“I felt like my effectiveness in Sciotoville was over. The job was one that was too big for me,” DeCamp said. “It was (grades) 7-12, then 6-12, then 5-12, then K-12. I didn’t feel like I could do both jobs (superintendent and principal) effectively.”

Three Dawson-Bryant board members voted in favor of the contract — Debbie Drummond, Jamie Murphy and Deanna Holliday.

“His experience and qualifications are just outstanding. He has a strong background in finance and our five-year forecast has some challenges,” said Holliday, who said DeCamp’s strength in curriculum was also pivotal in his hiring. “We want to ensure that we have a fiscally sound district.”

Holliday said the search did not include anything that founded the allegations, which she did not specify.

DeCamp, whose duties will begin Jan. 1, had no comment on the allegations, saying only, “I just want to come in and do the best job that I can.”

The two opposing votes came from Jim Beals and Sadie Mulkey.

“I just felt like we had qualified people within our district,” Mulkey said. “But that’s nothing against Mr. DeCamp. I wish him the very best of luck.”

DeCamp is a graduate of Wheelersburg High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio University and his master’s degree from the University of Dayton.

He was director of operations at the Sciotoville Community School since its inception in 2001 until he resignation last month. He was previously an administrator for Portsmouth City Schools.

DeCamp replaces James Payne, who will take over as superintendent of the Lawrence County Educational Service Center in January.

“The board certainly congratulates (DeCamp) and wishes Dawson-Bryant the best of luck and continued success in their future endeavors,” Shope said.