The Miamisburg board of education is set to meet in executive session at 5 p.m. after a Monday night event where the candidates were questioned by select community members and the board on Monday. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

NEW DETAILS: Miamisburg aims for consensus pick on new schools superintendent

Board President Dale Toadvine said he hopes the panel can reach a unanimous conclusion on either Laura Blessing, Kimberly Halley or Jennifer Penczarski becoming Miamisburg’s first female superintendent.

The board is set to meet in executive session at 5 p.m. after the candidates were questioned by select community members and the board on Monday.

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If a consensus can’t be reached Thursday night about a successor to the retiring David Vail, Toadvine said the process could go into next week.

“When you’ve got five people making a decision, you don’t always agree,” he said. “But as president I would like to work through and get a unanimous” decision. “And I think that can be done.”

The district – which includes Miamisburg, most of Miami Twp. and parts of German Twp. – will offer a base range salary of $130,000 to $155,000 to the top candidate, records show.

“I don’t think we can make a mistake on which one we hire because they’re all so good,” Toadvine said.

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•Blessing is superintendent of Northeastern Wayne Schools in Fountain City, Ind.

She has been an administrator since 2003, previously serving as director of curriculum and principal in three Indiana school districts, according to Miamisburg records.

Blessing earned a bachelor’s in elementary education from Indiana University, and her master’s and doctorate from Ball State University.

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In her application letter, she noted her “strengths as a creative thinker, problem-solver, strong long-range planner and the ability to communicate with a diverse population.”

•Halley is assistant superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools near Columbus.

She previously worked in Hilliard, Pickerington and Columbus schools and has 17 years administrative experience, including two years as assistant superintendent, records show.

Halley earned a master’s degree from the University of Dayton in 1998 and is in the doctorate program at Miami University.

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“My skill sets are well-developed and adaptable as a result of the vast experience….I believe we can develop a collaborative, long-term partnership to strengthen learning for all Miamisburg students,” according to her application letter.

•Penczarski is superintendent of Kenton City Schools in Hardin County, where she has worked since 2010.

Her records indicate five previous years as an administrator in Tri-Valley Local Schools, two as an assistant principal and three as principal.

She is a 1996 Miami grad and is pursuing a doctorate there.

“My leadership style is one of developing relationships, building consensus and problem solving,” she stated in her letter to the district. “One of my strengths as a leader is my ability to de-escalate a situation and creatively problem solve situations.”

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Among those meeting with the finalists Monday was Miami Twp. Trustee John Morris. Morris said he talked with others who questioned the candidates, and each one had a different favorite.

“I think whomever they choose will do a wonderful job taking the district where it needs to be,” he said.

How the board evaluates the finalists on a few key issues may be the deciding factor, Toadvine said.

“Everybody is looking for the leadership that we need right now. And I think the experience that someone has with the COVID (pandemic) and how they handled that is important. We dealt with that quite extensively” in interviews, he said.

“We’re looking at collaboration: What have they done in their home districts to prove that they collaborate with the teachers and with the classified people?” Toadvine added.

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