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Published: Wednesday, 8/1/2001

Port Clinton picks school chief


PORT CLINTON - The Port Clinton school board hired a replacement yesterday for retiring Superintendent Dennis Rectenwald and agreed to put on the November ballot a bond issue for a middle school.

Without conducting a search, the board offered the district's top job to Bart Anderson, who was director of student services from 1998 to 2000.

Mr. Anderson, 32, will take over as interim superintendent March 1, 2002, then begin a three-year contract Aug. 1, said David Belden, board vice president. Mr. Anderson said the board offered him a salary of $84,500 a year, which he accepted.

Mr. Anderson, a native of Oak Harbor who graduated from Oak Harbor High School, said he was thrilled to be offered what he described as his dream job.

“The reason for my return is simple: It's the job I always wanted,” he said. “I just didn't envision it would come open so soon.”

Mr. Anderson left the district last November to become Ohio development director for HOSTS Corp., a Dallas-based company that assists students who need help with language skills. HOSTS stands for Helping One Student To Succeed.

Before his first stint with the Port Clinton district, Mr. Anderson was superintendent of the Put-in-Bay Local Schools from 1996 to 1998. For the past two years, he has been superintendent of the tiny K-through-8 school districts on North Bass and Middle Bass islands.

“Port Clinton's an area that I truly love,” he said. “It's a beautiful geographic area. My parents live in the community. Family and friends here have really made this home for me. The Port Clinton schools have a reputation of being an excellent school district, and I think I can help them better that.”

Mr. Belden said the school board employed Mr. Anderson three years ago with the idea of having him succeed Mr. Rectenwald, who has been Port Clinton's superintendent since 1985.

“When we originally hired him, our hope was that he would become our next superintendent,” Mr. Belden said. “Bart left us for awhile, and I think he found his heart and his passion were with education and with the students in a district like ours. When the position came open, Bart threw his hat into the ring, and we were elated. We think Bart is an exceptional young man.”

Mr. Anderson will take the reins of a district that has been struggling to maintain several aging school buildings.

Voters in May rejected a 3.92-mill, $26.4 million bond issue to replace two elementary schools and a middle school - all more than 75 years old - with two new buildings.

Reacting to the vote and a post-election survey, the board yesterday passed a resolution of intent to place a slimmed-down bond issue on the Nov. 6 ballot. The 2.31-mill bond issue would raise $16.2 million over 28 years to build a middle school next to Port Clinton High School.

Mr. Rectenwald, 54, who announced last month that he would retire Feb. 28, 2002, said he'll be busy the next few months promoting the bond issue.

“We're going to go one school at a time,” he said. “Provided that we're successful in the fall, then the next board and the next superintendent can take a look at what they want to do with the elementaries.”

Mr. Anderson said he supports the district's decision on the issue.

“I think it shows the foresight of this board to say that even with the change in leadership, we have to move forward,” Mr. Anderson said.

The incoming superintendent has bachelor's and master's degrees from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a doctorate in education from the University of Nebraska.

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