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Trotwood picks interim schools chief who has dealt with state takeover

Trotwood-Madison City Schools will hire an interim superintendent for the rest of the calendar year, choosing a man who has experience with the state takeover system that is looming over Trotwood schools right now.

Trotwood’s board of education will hire Tyrone Olverson at their board meeting tonight, according to a district press release, with Olverson slated to start work on Monday.

For the past two years, Olverson has been Chief Academic Officer of the Youngstown City School District, which was taken over by a state Academic Distress Commission in 2010, before Olverson arrived.

RELATED: State test results key factor in Trotwood schools’ future

Trotwood schools are at risk of the same takeover process if student scores from ongoing state tests do not move the needle on the district’s state report card this summer.

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“Mr. Olverson’s work as a former superintendent and as a former principal in grades K-12, and his current experience with the new Academic Distress Commission and CEO at Youngstown City, make him the right person at the right time for Trotwood-Madison,” said Denise Moore, Trotwood school board president. “He’s had experience with turning districts around, changing the culture to a sustainable culture of high performance.”

Current Trotwood Superintendent Kevin Bell told district leaders late last year that he planned to retire Dec. 31, 2018, and the board has been searching for a superintendent since then. Moore said Bell will remain with the district in a support role for the rest of 2018.

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Olverson’s contract will run only through Dec. 31, because of the uncertainty of the possible state takeover process after state report cards are released in September. Moore said the board did talk to Olverson about his potential role after 2018, but on Wednesday, she would only say that his role is interim superintendent.

If Trotwood has a third straight year of bad state report card grades based on state tests, the Ohio Department of Education will appoint an Academic Distress Commission to run the district. That will happen if one of two things happens — if Trotwood receives an “F” in the new overall grade that will be added to schools’ report card this year, or if the district receives an “F” in performance index and a “D” or “F” in student growth.

In Trotwood, state testing began last week and will wrap up May 3. Preliminary results are delivered to schools in June, and the state report card is released in mid-September.

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“We’re looking at a lot of different scenarios based on the outcome of our state testing,” Moore said. “First and foremost, we’re very, very optimistic about that outcome. We have put interventions and strategic planning in place for our kids. … We feel very confident that the state takeover is not going to be an issue.

Before taking his current Youngstown post, Olverson was superintendent of Finneytown Local Schools near Cincinnati from 2013-16. He has also worked as an administrator in Licking Heights schools, and as a principal in Reynoldsburg (2006-09) and Princeton (2003-06), where he began his career in 1991 as a social studies teacher.

“I am extremely honored to have been selected for this position,” Mr. Olverson said in the district’s news release. “I am excited about getting to work and helping the district focus on doing what is best for children.”

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