Springboro hires new school superintendent

Larry Hook, Carlisle Superintendent of Schools is a finalist for the superintendent’s job in Tipp City. FILE PHOTO Larry Hook, the new superintendent for Carlisle Local Schools pictured Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010 in Carlisle, Ohio. Staff photo by Gary Stelzer

Larry Hook, superintendent of the Carlisle Local Schools, has been hired away by the Springboro school district.

The school board voted 4-1 during virtual special meeting Thursday to approve a two-year contract with Hook, who was at Carlisle for 10 years.

Hook previously worked as assistant superintendent in Springboro.

The Springboro contract, effective Aug. 2, pays Hook $143,000.

“He is the right person to lead us at this time,” Board President Jamie Belanger said.

Belanger pointed to upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and other staff and talks of a possible additional tax levy in the Spring as reasons not to — as previously planned — hire an interim superintendent, while mounting a national search.

Board Member Lisa Babb noted the change from hiring another interim leader, while searching for a new superintendent, in explaining her vote against hiring Hook.

Babb said she also got negative references in inquiries about Hook.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for Mr. Hook,” Babb said. “I look forward to a full search in two years.”

Babb said she would nonetheless support Hook as superintendent.

Board Member Dan Gudz said he favored a two-year contract for Hook in part due to recent issues in the district.

“Mr. Hook brings a lot to the position,” Gudz said.

Hook did not participate in the meeting and couldn’t be reached afterward.

“As a resident of this great community, I am honored to be able to lead Springboro Schools as Superintendent, where I will continue to provide the leadership each student, parent, employee, and community member need, in order to contribute to the academic and social growth of our students,” he said in a statement issued after the vote.

In March, the Carlisle board approved a retire-rehire pact with Hook, effective on Aug. 1, with a 10-percent reduction in his current annual salary of $146,516.

At the time of the Carlisle contract, Hook said he would like to stay in Carlisle for the opening of the district’s new $49 million school building serving pre-K through 12th-grade, which is expected at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.

Hook guided the Carlisle district’s successful 6.2-mill bond issue campaign in 2017 when 67 percent of the voters approved the local funding for the new building.

Hook was also a finalist for the superintendent’s job in Tipp City but was not selected from the field of 27 applicants.

RELATED: Springboro schools changing interim superintendent

Hook replaces Interim Superintendent Carrie Hester.

On May 27, the board approved a three-year contract with Hester to serve as assistant superintendent of administrative operations, starting on Aug. 1.

Hester took the interim superintendent role in August 2019 when Superintendent Dan Schroer was placed on administrative leave, amid allegations of misconduct involving mileage reimbursements, sick days and use of work days. He resigned later that month as part of a financial settlement agreement.

RELATED: Ex-Springboro superintendent accused of mileage, pay misconduct

In January, Hester’s interim superintendent contract was extended through 2020-21, with school board president Jamie Belanger saying at the time that “stability is important” and saying Hester had excelled in the role. Hester said she was honored by the move.

On May 23, Hester indicated she asked “to step back,” noting her 45-minute commute to district offices.

“The Superintendent role requires and also deserves to be filled by someone who is either a community member or lives very close by. Additionally, there is much good and necessary work to be done in the Human Resources and Operations areas of Springboro Schools. I want to lead that charge and be devoted to the work,” Hester added in an email.

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