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Focus groups set in Rossford superintendent hunt

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    Cheryl Ryan.


Cheryl Ryan.


The Rossford school district is pressing ahead with its search for a permanent superintendent and is to hold five focus group sessions Wednesday as part of the process.

The sessions will be at 10 a.m. in the Bulldog Center Conference Room, and at noon and 3, 4, and 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium. They will be conducted by Cheryl Ryan, the board’s consultant from the Ohio School Boards Association, who said she wants to get a feel for the district and learn what community members and school system employees are looking for in a new superintendent.

“The focus groups are an opportunity to pick the brain of the community and share with the board what the different groups are saying,” Ms. Ryan said.

Each session will last 45 minutes to an hour, and “I will take everything that I hear and write it down in a transcription and give it to the board. It is for the most part a verbatim report of what goes on at the meeting,” she said.

The new superintendent will replace Bill McFarland, interim superintendent through the current school year. The board is paying the association $6,900 to conduct the search.

The board’s timeline calls for interviews with candidates to begin in late January or early February and a decision to be made in late February. The search process includes advertising the opening nationally and distributing informational materials about the district.

Ms. Ryan said the 10 a.m. focus group is intended for school administrators in addition to community members. Some of the qualities sought by a community are universal, she noted, and others may reflect problems or projects a district is dealing with at the time.

School staff, she said, “tend to focus on qualities such as curriculum experience and data around standardized tests. Community members focus more on leadership skills and communication ability and the character a candidate portrays.”

School board President Dawn Burks has said that three areas were of special significance: the candidates’ abilities to handle major issues over the next several years, performance expections, and personal and professional qualities.

In other matters, school officials ask residents to complete a survey to help officials decide what to do about the district’s aging facilities.

The Garmann Miller Architects-Engineers firm is inspecting the system’s buildings and will report its findings to the board by the end of the month. The district’s master plan steering committee then will present these findings to the public at a 7 p.m. meeting on Jan. 17 in the high school auditorium.

The survey form is available online at or the district’s Web site, or at the Rossford Public Library; a printed version can be picked up at the school board office, city hall, Perrysburg Township Administration Building, or the Rossford Recreation Center-Senior Center.


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