Sunday, March 19, 2000

Finding leader Monroe's priority

Big job awaits school district

Enquirer Contributor

        MONROE — One of the first items of business for the superintendent of the new Monroe Local Schools will be to hire a high-school principal.

        But first, the district needs a superintendent.

        It's at least a month until the Ohio Board of Education will officially create the district — approved by Monroe voters on March 7 — with a resolution. The state board will then appoint a five-member school board that would hire a superintendent, treasurer and administrators.

        Lemon-Monroe High School Principal Cathy Hamilton has decided not to return to either the Monroe or Middletown schools when her contract expires this summer.

        Monroe's Executive Committee — the group that is planning for the district spun off from Middletown/Monroe Schools — is working on criteria for a superintendent and will begin doing the same for a principal, said Suzi Rubin, the group's spokeswoman.

        “We'll put together a search committee in the next week or so, and we're hoping to put some feelers out,” Mrs. Rubin said. “There's a limit as to how much we can do until we get a board. We hope the board agrees to what we've done. They've got to hit the ground running. There's no time to waste. Now is the season to find a superintendent (and administrators).”

        Mrs. Hamilton has been principal of the school since 1993 and is finishing work on a doctoral degree. She expects to receive her superintendent certification soon.

        “I think it's time,” Mrs. Hamilton said when asked why she was leaving. “My focus is on the next two and one-half months in this building. I want to make sure my kids have a great year. I wish the greatest success to these two districts.”

        Mrs. Hamilton said she has no job offers yet but plans to continue working in education. She decided to announce her decision not to come back now for the sake of the students.

        During her tenure, the school went from a traditional day to block scheduling, was recognized for inclusive programs, instituted team teaching, has piloted integrated curriculum across subjects, installed distance learning equipment and began a cross-cultural program.

        “Everything that's been done here has been done because of my staff,” Mrs. Hamilton said. “What they've done, they've done for kids. My life is fuller for having been here.”


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