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Hayes becomes county’s first female superintendent

ROME TOWNSHIP — Lawrence County will have its first woman superintendent starting Aug. 1.

That’s when longtime Fairland schools educator, Roni Hayes, takes over the reins of the district.

Hayes will succeed Jerry McConnell, who will retire from the district on July 31, after serving as superintendent for a quarter-century.

“I am very honored and excited to be given this opportunity to serve our district in this new capacity,” Hayes said. “The role of a superintendent is to support all aspects of the education in the school district. I am very hands-on and will be in the buildings on a regular basis.”

Hayes started her career in the Fairland schools as a high school math and computer science teacher, a post she held for eight years. She then became principal at the high school for four years before becoming assistant superintendent this past fall.

Fairland Board of Education chose Hayes as superintendent in an unanimous vote at its Monday meeting.

“She is an outstanding employee, a rising star who has continued to climb up through the Fairland school district,” Matt Ward, school board member, said. “It is a natural fit. It is a recommendation from Mr. McConnell and the board knows she can do it.”

Those at the county board of education have known Hayes since she became a building principal and say they have always had a good working relationship with the administrator.

“They felt she was highly organized,” Dr. James Payne, county superintendent, said. “She has tremendous technology skills and is able to relate that to staff. We feel like she has outstanding interpersonal skills in developing and building relationships.”