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Published: Wednesday, 7/12/2006

Archbold area school district New school chief off to a fast start

Deskins Deskins

ARCHBOLD - On the third day of his new job as superintendent of Archbold Area Local School District, David Deskins started work before 7 a.m. and didn't get home until 10:40 p.m.

Make that his third official day of work.

He was in the office unofficially several days at the end of June, before his $94,000-a-year contract really began, interviewing candidates for at least five staff positions.

"He's jumping in with both feet," said Scott Miller, vice president of the school board.

Mr. Deskins has also been out talking up the district's proposed 9.78-mill, five-year, emergency operating levy.

If approved on the Aug. 8 ballot would increase taxes by $300 a year on a $100,000, owner-occupied home. A proposed levy - the first request in 13 years - failed in May, so school officials are focused on getting the word out about the need for the levy to pass.

"I'm walking into a levy situation that I have a little less than a month to convince the community [to pass it]," he said.

And, he says, he loves the pace.

As for what attracted him to Archbold, Mr. Deskins has said the district's strong academic record grabbed his attention right away.

"They've been so successful in so many ways," Mr. Deskins said. "My hope is to continue the tradition of excellence there."

This is his first superintendent's position after five years as a principal, one year as an assistant principal, and three years as a dean of students and high school teacher in western Ohio.

Education, however, is a second career for the 42-year-old Mr. Deskins.

After graduating from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor's degree in sociology and psychology in 1986, he was a youth minister and substitute teacher and then spent about a decade as a county and then a federal probation officer and pretrial services officer.

But the cycle of offenders, many of whom had dropped out of school and gotten addicted to drugs, made Mr. Deskins wonder how much impact he could make with criminals in the court system.

"Very clearly I was hearing a call that we were missing them in schools," he said.

One of the final straws was an extremely hostile offender who implied that he might harm Mr. Deskins' family.

That year, when the principal of Lehman High School, a Catholic school of almost 400 students in west central Ohio's Sidney, called him and asked when he was going to get into education - a question he had asked Mr. Deskins every year since he had coached baseball at the school - Mr. Deskins replied, "Well, let's sit down and talk."

That talk led to Mr. Deskins' becoming dean of students and a psychology and sociology teacher at Lehman in 1997.

And the $14,000 annual pay cut he took to do so is telling of how much he wanted to work in the field.

"He's energized. He's got some new ideas. New thoughts," Archbold school board member Roel Galvan said.

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