Coronavirus delays superintendent search as Miamisburg cuts list to 7

The coronavirus pandemic has delayed interviews for the school superintendent job in Miamisburg, where the list of candidates has been cut to seven.

Concerns of bringing in applicants to the community in a time of when social distancing is urged by public health officials has pushed back the process to hire retiring Superintendent David Vail’s successor.

“What’s going on throughout the world right now….I just really felt like we needed to give this a break – for people in our community as well as ourselves,” Miamisburg City Schools Board of Education President Dale Toadvine said.

Toadvine said the board narrowed the list of 29 applicants to seven in a near three-hour screening as members met in executive session.

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The board had planned on inviting candidates to the district - which includes the city, most of Miami Twp. and parts of German Twp. - next week. But that time frame has been pushed back until at least mid-April, possibly into May or longer, officials said.

“Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our kids and our community,” Toadvine said. “And that’s what is foremost in our minds. So that’s why we chose to delay things – hopefully (the pandemic) has time to die down….We certainly don’t want to put anybody at risk.”

The remaining seven candidates include six from Ohio and one from Indiana, with some having ties to Dayton and Southwest Ohio, records show. They include:

•Thomas S. Bailey, superintendent, Washington Court House City Schools, 2017–present. Bailey served as band director at Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton from 1991–1993 and earned a master’s degree from the University of Dayton in 1996;

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•Laura L. Blessing, superintendent, Northeastern Wayne Schools, Fountain City, Ind., 2013–present;

•George E. Fisk, superintendent, Norwalk City Schools, 2015–present;

•Dennis Haft, superintendent, Clyde-Green Springs Exempted Village School District, Clyde, Ohio, 2016–present;

•Kimberly K. Halley, assistant superintendent, Reynoldsburg City Schools, 2018–present. Halley earned a master’s degree from the UD in 1998 and is in the doctorate program at Miami University.

•David L. Lewis, superintendent, Miami Trace Local Schools, 2013–present.

•Jennifer Penczarski, superintendent, Kenton City Schools, 2010–present. She is a 1996 Miami U. grad and is pursuing a doctorate there.

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“We have some excellent candidates,” Toadvine said. “I think it’s going to be a tough decision because of the quality of the candidates that we have.”

Because of the pandemic, the school board has developed two potential interview schedules, said Thomas Ash, consultant for K-12 Business Consulting Inc., which is working with the board.

Plan A calls initial interviews April 14-15 with a final round slated for April 22, Ash said. Under Plan B, initial interviews are set for May 4-5 with a final round scheduled for May 11, he added.

Toadvine has said it is the school board’s goal to have a replacement in place by the time Vail leaves this summer. But he said this week that will depend on the coronavirus situation.

Vail announced his retirement in a letter to the board earlier this year. He has been an educator for nearly 40 years, the past seven-plus as Miamisburg’s superintendent.

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