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RH board pleased with applicant response

The deadline to submit a resume to be the next Rock Hill School Superintendent was Friday and 21 candidates have done just that, board president Dennie Hankins said.

Hankins said he is pleased and perhaps a bit amazed with the level of interest shown in the district by people who want to lead it in the future.

“I was told by the Ohio School Boards Association if we got 15-20 applicants that would probably be average or a little above average,” Hankins said. “So yes, I’m pleased.”

The farthest applicant is from Maine; five applicants are from the Ashland-Ironton area.

Hankins said the ideal candidate will be a bit of a jack-of-all trades and if the board doesn’t find the ideal candidate among those 21 resumes, members may be willing to extend the search by a week or two.

“Looking at our budget, we want him to be diverse, experienced in school finance and school testing. We want him to be a PR person, someone willing to make tough decisions, willing to focus on education, someone who is not a politically oriented individual, someone who has experience, who’s been tested, has a proven track record,” Hankins said.

Hankins said the board hopes to have a new superintendent in place by the July board meeting. The board’s contract with superintendent Lloyd Evans expires July 31. The board chose not to offer him a new one.

The relationship between Evans and some board members has often been stormy.

In late 2003, a lame-duck school board made up of individuals who had publicly expressed their support for Evans gave him a new, five-year contract after board members Lavetta Sites and Paul R. Johnson, who were not considered to be Evans supporters, won seats on the board in the November 2003 general election.

But not long after the new board members were seated in 2004, Sites, Johnson and Wanda Jenkins opted to non-renew Evans’ new contract.

Evans sued them in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court contending that his contract was valid. Evans won the case and returned to his position.

A grass-roots organization known as Citizens Against Poor Spending successfully sued to remove Sites, Jenkins and Johnson from the board — only the second time such a lawsuit has even been successful in Ohio — for malfeasance of office.

However, Jenkins was re-elected to the board only weeks after being removed in the lawsuit. Johnson and Sites later won their seats back through subsequent elections.

Hankins said the decision about who will be the next superintendent is an important one and the board is taking its time to make that decision in an effort to do what is best for the district.

“We want people to know the board feels the weight of this position in light of the many years the current superintendent has served the district. And the board is taking its time to sort through the applications and taking its time with the process, having not gone down this road before,” Hankins said.

“We want to make sure we’ve given every thought and consideration to the mandates of the position and the seriousness of finding the right fit for the school district that I believe is ready to march forward and successfully reach realistic goals in the future.”