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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2010

New school chief optimistic as levy request goes back to voters

BLADE STAFF

WOODVILLE, Ohio - John Fernbaugh, the new Woodmore Local Schools superintendent, fairly exudes optimism and enthusiasm for his job even after the narrow defeat of the district's emergency levy request last week.

"We're disappointed," Mr. Fernbaugh said of the levy that lost by 40 votes. "But as you know, we had some [glitches] about the election. We feel pretty good. We're going back [to the voters] in November" with the same request for a five-year, 2.99-mill emergency operating tax, he noted.

The glitch he referred to was an attempt by the Board of Education to pull the levy issue from the ballot late last month, an action that is prohibited by Ohio election law.

Mr. Fernbaugh, 67, credits his positive attitude to Woodmore officials and residents.

"I think our people are one of our great resources," he said. "They're quick to come up with ideas to help the district. They're quick to cooperate. When you ask them for ideas, they're quick to come forward."

The new superintendent's first day on the job was July 19. He was not among the 13 applicants who responded to the board's advertisement for the position.

"We narrowed the list to six, and they all dropped out," board President Steve Huss said. "I knew John and I gave him a call."

The result was a two-year contract at an annual salary of $91,000.

A Bowling Green resident, Mr. Fernbaugh has served as the full-time superintendent at two other Ohio districts: the Elgin Local Schools outside Marion and the McComb schools in northern Hancock County.

He also was the acting superintendent at the Rossford schools for five months in 2007 while the district searched for someone full-time.

He comes to Woodmore from Mason Middle School in Erie, Mich., where he was principal.

Mr. Fernbaugh has a bachelor's degree in education from Bowling Green State University and a master's from Eastern Michigan University.

He began his career at Delta High School, where he taught health and biology and coached football, basketball, and track.

He also did teaching and coaching stints in William County's Montpelier schools and Toledo's DeVilbiss High School and Bowsher High School.

At Woodmore, he's focused now on meeting the people of the Woodmore district and getting to know their educational concerns.

"I'm getting out and letting people know me," he said. "I'm very focused on customer service and getting to know the needs of my customers."



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