Andrea Townsend will replace the retiring Rusty Clifford

West Carrollton announces new school superintendent

School board will vote on Townsend’s contract at Wednesday meeting.

West Carrollton’s school board plans to hire New Bremen’s Andrea Townsend as its new superintendent at a 5 p.m. Wednesday meeting, according to school board President Roberta Phillips.

While retiring Superintendent Rusty Clifford has been a fixture in West Carrollton’s top spot for 18 years, Townsend, 48, has worked in a wide range of districts and locations.

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She is finishing her second year as superintendent at small, rural New Bremen schools an hour north of Dayton. Before that she was an administrator for three years at Springfield City Schools, directing their elementary education and student services departments, and starting an online school program. She has also worked as a charter school principal at the local Emerson and Pathway schools, and has been a teacher and principal in Maryland and Florida.

“That does help me view things from different sides and angles and gives me a different perspective than a lot of folks have, which I think is a benefit,” Townsend said. “I’ve been in a district as small as my current one, with 750 students, to one with 120,000 students (in Baltimore). I’ve seen it all.”

Phillips said the school board will vote on Townsend’s contract at Wednesday’s meeting, scheduled at the district administrative offices, 430 E. Pease Ave. If the contract is approved, Townsend will take over this summer, when Clifford’s contract ends.

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“Dr. Townsend is a collaborative and innovative leader who will work with our community, staff and students to implement change in our district,” Phillips said Tuesday.

Townsend’s last two stops were very different — New Bremen is a tiny, rural district with strong academic performance, including a B in performance index and an A in graduation rate on the last state report card. Springfield is 10 times larger (7,700 students), and like many urban, high-poverty districts, has struggled with multiple F’s on its report card.

West Carrollton falls in the middle — both in size and performance. The suburban district of roughly 3,800 students received D’s in performance index and early literacy improvement on the most recent state report card, but it got B’s for student progress and graduation rate. Clifford has been a frequent critic of the way Ohio grades its schools, saying it relies too much on test performance rather than other measures.

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Townsend said she looks forward to learning from Clifford’s long experience this summer during the 20 days when their roles will overlap. She said the district seems to have strong leaders in place, and she hopes to work on academic areas of focus and strategic planning.

“I’ve had experience with coming in and creating new programs, tightening up instructional areas,” she said. “I see that as one of my strengths and felt like this would be a good fit.”

District officials had said 10 candidates were under consideration for the job. All of them were from Ohio, including four from the Dayton area — Kimberly Hall, principal at West Carrollton’s Walter Shade Early Childhood Center; Amy Baldridge, Greene County Educational Service Center director of educational programs; Shelley Hilderbrand, Huber Heights City Schools assistant superintendent; and Jeff Patrick, superintendent of Franklin-Monroe Local Schools in Darke County.

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