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Holgate's test scores to challenge new leader

HOLGATE - New superintendent Terry McDowell will move just down the hall for his new job, from his office as principal of the high school and middle school.

Mr. McDowell has been appointed to replace John Mohler as superintendent of the Holgate Local School District, which has 595 students, all in one building.

His first challenge: “It's finding a replacement for myself,” Mr. McDowell said. “I'll work hard to get a good high school and middle school principal.”

Mr. McDowell, 55, lives near Texas, Ohio. He'll be paid $75,000 a year.

He has been at Holgate two years, having left a job as assistant principal at Lima Senior High School. “I've enjoyed the smaller school, especially getting to know the kids,” Mr. McDowell said.

His other big challenges will be improving test scores and dealing with the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

The district is eligible for 82 percent funding for building, he said, adding that the board must explore options to submit by the end of June.

“We are not sure yet whether plans should be for a K-through-12 building or not,” Mr. McDowell said. “Our original proposal was to replace the middle school and high school.”

The state has awarded facilities commission money for K-12 buildings, Mr. McDowell said.

Until this year, Holgate led Henry County in proficiency test scores, Mr. McDowell said, but this year results were not as high.

“We want to work to get that back up again,” he said.

Fourth grade students passed three of five sections last year but passed only one part in the school year that just ended. Sixth graders passed three areas this past year.

Mr. McDowell was at Lima Senior eight years and before that spent 13 years as an administrator at Four County Vocational School.

“I'm especially appreciative of staff and students here because when a principal moves up, instead of someone from outside coming in, it's related to their support and loyalty,” Mr. McDowell said.

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