Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Cobb leaving early for Missouri

Talawanda Superintendent accepts new position

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        OXFORD — Talawanda Superintendent Susan Cobb will leave the district July 6 for a new position in Missouri.

        She is leaving three weeks before her planned July 31 departure because she accepted a position as executive director for human resources with the 18,000-student Francis Howell Schools in St. Charles County, just west of St. Louis. She was given a two-year contract and will earn $90,000 annually.

        “It will be a challenging position,” Ms. Cobb said Tuesday. “It's a great opportunity to get back near family.”

        Four months ago, Ms. Cobb submitted her letter of resignation, six months after the Talawanda board decided not to extend her first three-year contract. Typically, the board votes to extend administrators' contracts a year before they expire.

        Ms. Cobb says she is leaving the district with no hard feelings. She said she will leave three letters in her desk, with humorous, sage advice, gleaned over her stay in Talawanda, her first position as a superintendent. They are directed to assistant superintendent Phil Cagwin, who takes over as superintendent Aug. 1.

        The first letter, Ms. Cobb says, is to be opened during his first crisis. Its advice: “Blame the former superintendent.” The second letter should be opened during the second crisis and says, “Blame the board.” The third is a surprise for Mr. Cagwin, to be opened when he hits his third rough spot.

        “My three years here at Talawanda, in balance, have been a wonderful experience. They've been my richest, professionally, and I've loved living here in this lovely area. I'm proud of what we've accomplished,” Ms. Cobb said.

        Ms. Cobb said the biggest accomplishment was last November's passage of an operating levy after two failed attempts. She also cites improved student achievement, improved public image and better staff morale.

        In her new position, Ms. Cobb will oversee a staff of 12 in the 150-square-mile district that includes four high schools, five middle schools and 10 elementary buildings.

        Talawanda Board President William Vollmer said he is pleased Ms. Cobb got a good job near her family. She left the Fox C-6 School District — where she grew up and worked — when she came to Talawanda in March 1998.

        “We all wish her well,” Mr. Vollmer said.


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