The Perrysburg Board of Education made a superb choice in selecting Thomas L. Hosler to be the district's new superintendent, according to the vice president of the board of education for Michigan's Huron School District.
"Perrysburg is a very lucky place," said Ken Appleby, vice president of the board for the school system in southern Wayne County, where Mr. Hosler, 39, has been superintendent for seven years.
"I've been on the school board for 16 years and hired five superintendents. Tom was head and shoulders above the others," Mr. Appleby said.
He credits Mr. Hosler with getting voters to approve the Huron district's first bond levy in 26 years in 2001.
Perrysburg voters turned down bond levy requests for permanent improvements in May and November.
"We had a superintendent who kind of drove a wedge between the school district and the community," Mr. Appleby explained. "Tom brought integrity back to the district. He was really able to build a system of trust and transparency. He's very articulate, he has high integrity, and the community took a liking to him."
Mr. Hosler has not been officially hired yet. He and the Perrysburg board are working on a contract, which both sides expect to be finalized either this week or next.
Mr. Hosler said he anticipates an Aug. 1 starting date, with some transitional work in July with Michael Cline, the current Perrysburg superintendent.
Walter Edinger, Perrysburg school board president, wouldn't discuss Mr. Hosler's likely salary, except to note that superintendents in Michigan seemed to be paid more than in Ohio.
Mr. Hosler's current salary is $116,000; Mr. Cline's is $121,000.
"We figure we want to be competitive with what he's making now, and we are asking him to move to Perrysburg - something he has indicated he wanted to do," Mr. Edinger said.
Mr. Hosler lives in Sylvania with his wife, Robin, and their four children.
He grew up in Toledo's Point Place and graduated from St. Francis de Sales High School in 1986.
He has bachelor's and master's degrees in education from the University of Toledo and an education specialist's degree from Wayne State University, Detroit, where he is finishing up his work on a doctorate.
He was a teacher and assistant principal at St. John's Jesuit High School in Toledo, did a teaching stint at Arbor Hills Junior High in Sylvania, and was principal at Addison High School in Michigan.
He and his family lived in Perrysburg in the 1990s.
Asked to compare the Huron schools' community with Perrysburg, Mr. Hosler said: "We have a little more diversity in terms of socioeconomics [in the Huron district]. We're tied to the automotive industry. It's a growing community. We've added 400 to 500 students in the last seven years."
The Huron district has an enrollment of 2,500, substantially smaller than Perrysburg's 4,500.
In Michigan, 85 percent of a school system's funding comes from the state through a 2 percent sales tax.
"Tom is stepping into a different world," Mr. Appleby noted.
Perrysburg school board member Valerie Hovland visited the Huron district as part of the board's due diligence.
"We talked to about 30 people," she said. "What impressed me was his openness. He has an open-door policy. While we were there, students were dropping in to visit him. He even has a student advisory board to keep him informed of what's going on. We received letters from students he had taught years ago. These were from people in their late 20s."
Mr. Hosler, for his part, said: "At the end of the day, everything we do is for the kids. It's important for me to keep that connection."
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