The Xenia school board voted Monday night to negotiate a new longer-term agreement with Gabriel Lofton, the district’s interim superintendent.
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Lofton will no longer be referred to as the interim top administrator starting Jan. 1, and the board will be negotiating a new agreement with Lofton to begin next school year, according to the board’s resolution.
Lofton, previously with Cincinnati Public Schools, was hired by the board over the summer to serve as the interim superintendent on a one-year contact at an annual salary of $145,000.
Board President Pam Callahan said the board initially hired Lofton on an interim basis “to make sure he was a good fit for our district.”
“He had a solid entry plan and has been working that plan from day one,” Callahan said. “We are going to embark on a visioning plan which will include a community forum to seek input regarding a possible building project as well as an academic improvement strategy. We felt Dr. Lofton has integrated himself well into the community and we feel his leadership will move our district forward.”
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Lofton said Tuesday that his time in Xenia has been “excellent” so far and the community has much to be proud of, with teachers putting in extra time to work with students, parents who inspire and volunteer and others from the community “who give their time, expertise, and resources in order for us to continue to be successful and exceed expectations.”
“We are focused on providing our students with an excellent education, in a student-centered environment,” Lofton said. “Take pride in knowing, Xenia Community Schools is committed to educating the “whole” child, has a personalized approach for student success, and has high expectations.”
Among Lofton’s challenges will be to oversee two aging school buildings — Xenia High School and Warner Middle School — that the state has deemed fit for renovations or replacement. District voters three times rejected a proposed school tax to pay for a new school building that would replace the high school and middle school.